Don’t be surprised if the world hates you

Hate

As a Christian we should not be surprised if the people of this world hates us (v. 13). There is no way of telling what a tree is other than by its fruits, and there is no way of telling what a man is other than by his conduct. John lays it down that any one who does not live righteously is thereby demonstrating the he is not of God. The only thing which proves that a man belongs to God is the righteousness of his life. But what is righteousness?” John’s answer is clear and unequivocal. To be righteous is to love our brother. John says this is a duty which we should never doubt. Love for one’s brethren shows that we have entered God’s sphere of life (see John 13:35). Anyone who does not love remains in death (v. 14). John is repeating what Jesus taught and that is that whoever hates another person is a murderer at heart (v. 15) (Matt. 5:21-22).

Christianity is a religion of the heart and outward compliance is not enough. Bitterness toward someone who has wronged you is like cancer and it will destroy you. Don’t let a “root of bitterness” (Heb. 12:15) grow in your heart and life. You may say, “But you don’t realize the people I have to work with. It isn’t possible to work with them and keep a loving attitude.” If this is our thinking consider what one person has said: “When you’ve met a person you wouldn’t want to be like he’s probably just met one, too.” All of the family of God need the instructions given in these verses in I John 3. John gives the two basic principles which must be true of a person before he participates in the Christian family. First, a person must be born into the family before he functions as a member of it.  The second requirement is love. The child of God does not have an active and continued hatred for his brother. When we belonged to the world system, we hated God’s people; but when we belong to God we should love them.

Application

I am certainly glad that God gave us I John 1:9 so that I can know what to do when I do not have the right attitude toward others. I just need to recognize this wrong attitude and confess it as sin.

I John 3:11-16 (English Standard Version)


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