Bearing the World’s Hatred

Posted on November 25, 2019

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By David Ettinger

Disdaining Christianity
We who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior love Him deeply. We rejoice in the profound knowledge that eternity with Christ awaits us when our mortal lives end. The apostle John sums it up best when he writes: “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). In other words, God so loved us (John 3:16) that He gave us His Son Jesus to rescue us from eternal damnation and deliver us into the realm of everlasting life. For this incomprehensible act of supreme grace, we love our Lord Jesus – a love He Himself placed inside us (Romans 5:5).

However, when it comes to “the world” – the unredeemed – there is no love for the Lord Jesus. Instead, there is disdain. Here’s a sampling:

  • “Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world” (French philosopher Voltaire).
  • “The Christian faith from the beginning, is sacrifice: the sacrifice of all freedom, all pride, all self-confidence of spirit; it is at the same time subjection, self-derision, and self-mutilation” (German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche).
  • “I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its Churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world” (British philosopher Bertrand Russell).

These are “voices from the past”; what do today’s cultural figures say? Here’ what:

  • “It’s a real conflict for me when I go to a concert and find out somebody in the audience is a Republican or fundamental Christian. It can cloud my enjoyment. I’d rather not know” – singer Linda Ronstadt.
  • “To me, I think it’s this thing of everyone wanting to make Jesus the Son of God and Jesus the only way to God that is the thing that no longer makes me want to be a Christian” – actor Woody Harrelson.
  • “I don’t think that fundamentalism has anything to do with Jesus Christ. They call themselves Christians, but if that’s Christian, count me out. Fundamentalism is built on fear and greed. They’re telling you to give them your money otherwise you’re going to hell” – actor Matthew Fox.

What has Christianity done to merit such venom? Why did Jesus say: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18). The Lord’s earthly brother James adds: “… don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God?” (James 4:4). The apostle Paul also addresses Christian-directed hatred: “… everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).

The Reason
The reason is that this world and its sinful system is operated by Satan, whom Jesus refers to three times as the “prince of this world” (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11) and whom Paul refers to as the “ruler of the kingdom of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). Those who reject Jesus are the subjects of Satan, whether or not they acknowledge it. Therefore, because the unredeemed embrace the darkness rather than the light (John 3:19), they hate the One – Jesus – who condemns their darkness. By default, the world hates the followers of Jesus who also expose its darkness.

Forge On, Christian!
Believers must understand that being hated for Christ’s sake is neither strange nor unjust, but is to be expected and even counted as a blessing. Christians are to look in anticipation beyond the boundaries of this temporary and dying world to the eternal glories that await us.

Paul said it eloquently while enduring the world’s hatred in a Roman prison cell. Instead of craving the riches, praises, and “glory” of this world, Paul gratefully traded it all away for what lay ahead: “… I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

May all who go by the name “Christian” take such a view, being willing recipients of the world’s hatred knowing that one day glorious and incomprehensible blessings await us in the eternal kingdom of Christ our Savior

This is a much abridged version of an article I wrote for Zion’s Fire magazine. If you would like the full version (a whopping 5,200 words), you may download the Word file here: