Hated And Loved
In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, He brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation--an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse. This is a terrific responsibility. Is anyone competent to take it on?
2 Corinthians 2:14-16 (The Message)
No one in history is more hated and loved than Jesus. In scripture, His presence produced passionate responses: hatred, anger, and jealousy--or love, worship, and praise.
He said Himself that He came to divide: 'Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division' (Luke 12:51). 'So there was a division among the people because of Him' (John 7:43).
As Christ followers, we should expect the same responses: hate and love. 'Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you' (1 John 3:13). Thank God, the world now includes many believers and millions more who will become believers. Not only will our God never leave us or forsake us, but we find fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ.
We know through the great commission of Jesus Christ that we are to go out into this world in His Name. Staying in the comfort of a loving home is our retreat--but carrying the hope of Christ to a dying world is our destiny.
We need to prepare ourselves with awareness that passionate followers of Christ bring forth passionate responses. Since our battle is not against human forces but against evil spirits, the person who treats you scornfully is not your enemy. He is only a symptom. Satan is the disease.
Eliminate the disease and the symptoms disappear. How do we eliminate Satan? Love. 'Love never fails' (1 Corinthians 13:8). Jesus brought the cure, tested it on Himself, and offers it freely to everyone.
Therefore, 'love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you' (Matthew 5:44).
In doing so, you fight for the life of another. An enemy can be saved. An enemy is a sinner without grace, 'For by grace you have been saved through faith' (Ephesians 2:8). So, once were we. Through love, we march in the promised 'perpetual victory parade' and invite others to join us.