“Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.” 1 John 3:13
After telling you to stop sinning and live in God, John now tells you to love one another. God loved you so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for you. He also loved everyone else just as much. Now you are to love everyone else.
As you go about showing love to other people, some will return that love with hatred. This comes as a surprise to some people. How can someone show hatred when being loved?
In this verse John tells you not to be surprised that the world will hate you. The world here, is all the non-believers in the world. These people are being led by the devil and their own sinful desires.
Some of the reasons the world may hate you are:
1) guilt: your loving actions show how bad they really are and they do not want to see that
2) jealousy: they see in you something they don’t have
3) fear: that you are better than they are and will win in the end
4) Jesus: the world hates Jesus, so the world will hate you because you represent Him in this world
John used the great example of hatred in the story of Cain and Abel. Cain killed Abel out of jealousy because Abel’s actions were righteous while his were not.
Often believers will get upset when someone hates them. Or they will feel that they have done something wrong to bring on the hatred. After this happens many often change their actions and ways to follow the world. They want the world to love them.
This goes against the way Jesus acted. As He was going around loving people, the people hated Him and ultimately killed Him on the cross. Yet, even on the cross, Jesus still loved them and wanted the Father to forgive them.
You are told to expect hatred from the world. Do not return that hatred with hatred. Do not allow yourself to change in order to be loved by the world. Pray for those in the world and continue to be a shining light for Jesus. Be an example of who Jesus is to the world. Do not allow their hatred to stop or change you.
I pray that today God will fill you with His love; that God will help you to show His love to all around you; that God will strengthen you as the world hates you; and that you will be His witness in everything you say and do.