As I look at this passage, there is one more thing that strikes me, and so we’ll stay here one more day. When you tell God’s truth, people will not always take it well. Often times, they respond with disbelief, and other times, they will even respond with hatred.
Jesus faced both. As we saw yesterday, even his own brothers didn’t believe in him, and so they mocked him.
But as Jesus told them his reasons for not going, he also said this:
The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. (7)
I was reading an article today about a man who is being heavily criticized for saying homosexuality is sinful. The truth is, it seems nowadays in America that if you dare to say that publicly, you’re labeled bigoted and intolerant.
It is a perfect fulfillment, in fact, of what Jesus says here. When we testify that what the world does is evil, they will hate us for it, and they will persecute us.
That said, and I’ve mentioned this before, there is a right way to tell the truth, and a wrong way. We are to tell people the truth not because we hate them, but because we love them.
I warn my four year old daughter all the time, “Don’t run out in the parking lot! Don’t run out in the street! Sooner or later, you’ll get hit by a car if you do.”
Why do I say that? Because I love her. Because I don’t want her to be hurt.
And that’s the same attitude that we should have when we warn people of their sin. It shouldn’t be because we despise or hate them, no matter how despicable their sin. We need to tell them because we love them and want their best. We need to tell them because our deepest hope is that they be saved, and that they don’t see the consequences of their sin. That instead, they would know God’s grace and mercy in their lives.
But know that if we tell the truth, even in love, people will not always believe us, and will even hate us for it. Jesus was the perfect Son of God. Yet people disbelieved him, and hated him to the point that they crucified him. Can we expect any different for ourselves?