Just in case we thought living the Christian life of discipleship was going to be a rosy celebration of joy every single day, our Lord gives us a dose of reality today. He points out that if we find ourselves hated by the world, we have to remember that the world hated him first. If the world hates our Lord, then those of us who purport to follow after him have to expect that the world will hate us too.
In fact, one might say that being hated by the world was a kind of litmus test of discipleship. If we are not actually hated by the world, one might wonder if we are truly living the Gospel, witnessing to the Truth and worshipping rightly. Because all of those hallmarks of discipleship necessarily cost something, and if we’re not paying the price, we’re not doing it right.
So for us, being hated by the world might look like being passed over for a promotion or some other honor because we value time with our family over endless hours at work. It might look like being the object of unkind gossip because we value Sunday as a day of worship and family rest instead of having our children involved in all kinds of sports or artistic endeavors on the Lord’s day. It might look like skipping the latest gadget or the glitzier car so that we can be kind to the poor. The world will hate us because our commitment to Jesus will challenge their commitment to selfishness.
We Christians live in the world, but we do not belong to the world. Our witness, our living, has to be at a different level. If we find ourselves fitting in nicely, it might just be that we’re doing it wrong.