The Hate, and Love, of the World. We should not belong. vv18,19
Jesus says we will be hated by the world. The “if” in this sentence is not a “maybe,” but relates more to the reason for the inevitable hatred. The “world” in John’s writing indicates the culture of men set up against God. We do not belong to those systems, and therefore we are hated as outsiders. The love of the world is nothing like the love of God. The world loves conditionally. If we are different, or do not fulfill their wishes, we will be hated. And, as believers called out of the world by God, we should expect hatred. Or, at the very least, we can’t expect love.
In light of this truth, we have to be careful in our evangelism. Many try to couch the Gospel into a “cool” packaging. We try to make ourselves and our message more popular in the eyes of the world. “Serve the city” approaches, or efforts to develop a “popular” presence as speakers and writers can quickly dilute the Gospel message. Because ultimately the Gospel is not a message the world will love. Individuals, yes; but the culture, no.
The problem of the world’s hatred towards the chosen is not so much jealousy. Those who are chosen are those who recognize their own shortcomings. We see and recognize our sin. People in the world do not like people who think we have a problem; who think sin exists. (Then there is the unfortunate proximity to religious types, who do not see their own sin so much as they see everyone else’s. The judgmental. That is a different problem that impacts us in the hatred department.)
We need to love the people around us, those in our lives and those God brings us into contact with. However, we need to do this with the right motivation. We love because of Jesus’ love and what we have experienced. We do not love to win favor or some sort of popularity contest. That is a fool’s errand.