Trusting while hated

The world has always hated God’s people, because they have always hated God. That might sound overly brash but consider the words of Jesus: ‘If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you’ (John 15:18). Jesus is the showcase of the world’s hatred – he is the God-Man.

But hatred of God and his people didn’t begin with Jesus. There was a long pedigree of hatred. Jesus himself recognised this in the parable of the wicked tenants (Luke 20:9-18), and we can trace it back to God’s Word to the serpent in Gen 3:15 (‘I will put enmity between … [the serpent’s] offspring and [the woman’s] offspring.’)

Cain (of the serpent) killed Abel (of the woman). And on it goes through biblical history – Pharaoh and Israel, Goliath and David, Haman and Mordechai. The hatred the world shows towards God’s people is nothing new.

We shouldn’t be surprised when the world continues to show its hatred towards us and God. In some places and people it is easily recognisable. Violence, arrests, verbal abuse and blatant contempt are regular occurrences. In other places and people it is much more subtle. Hatred shows itself in polite rejection of the gospel and ‘logical’ arguments against God’s claims to decide morality (consider Rom 1:30).

This may feel overwhelming. How should we respond? We could point to any number of godly reactions, and condemn ungodly reactions. David points us to one godly reaction in Psalm 52:8. ‘I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.’

Will you continue to trust God when trouble from the world comes? He loves you and has shown that supremely at the cross. His love will never fail. Hold on to him.