– John R. Rice
Let’s face it; you’re going to be hated if you are like God. They hated Jesus, so what makes us think they won’t hate us too, and in fact, if the world loves us, something’s seriously wrong. It’s maybe not so much that they hate us, but they hate Who we represent and hate the message more than the messenger (us). Expect it. Don’t be surprised. I would only be surprised if they didn’t hate us for being like God, specifically, being like Jesus.
Jesus didn’t want to keep His disciples from the truth that “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18), because “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19), and so “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours” (John 15:20). Don’t be shocked if unbelievers hate you because Jesus said it will come.
Are you persecuted for righteousness sake? Good! This is because Jesus promised, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:10), so “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matt 5:10), so instead of being broken by this, we should “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5:12).
We have read that if we’re persecuted for Jesus’ sake, we’re blessed by God, and this shouldn’t surprise us either, because “they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5:12b). That’s very good company to be in. Besides, “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2nd Tim 3:12), and “all” doesn’t mean most, so don’t “be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1st Pet 4:12).
Mr. Rice is spot on with his words that “If you were enough like God, someone wouldn’t like you,” so expect to be hated for Jesus’ sake; if the world hated Jesus (and they did), they will also hate us; if we’re persecuted for living a righteous life, our reward in heaven will be great; and if we’re being treated like this, we’re in good company, for so they persecuted the prophets before us.