“Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.”       1 John 3:13 NIV


John has contrasted the love that we are to have for one another with Cain’s murder of his brother, Abel. Then, he states, “Do not be surprised, if the world hates you.” John reflects on Jesus’ words in the Upper Room (John 15:18-19), “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” Not to doubt Jesus’ words, but rather to understand them, we must ask, “Is this true? How is the world marked by hatred, especially considering all the nice unbelievers out there?” To answer these questions, we need to define our terms. By the world, John means the unbelieving world, of course, which is under Satan’s dominion in opposition to God. John was targeting those who had left the church and were promoting false teaching about the person and work of Christ. When John speaks of love, he points us to the supreme example of Jesus. A helpful definition of biblical love is a self-sacrificing, caring commitment that shows itself in seeking the highest good of the one loved. Jesus sacrificed Himself because He cared for us and He is committed to seeking our highest good. Since hatred is the opposite of love, we may define it as a selfish, insensitive attitude that shows itself in disregarding others’ good as I seek my own interests. When we understand hatred as such, we can see that it characterizes the unbelieving world.



Lord, may we never follow the ways of the world but rather Your Way of Love.



Lord, open our eyes to see afresh the ways of this world, and its selfishness, and to seek to follow in Your footsteps of unselfish, sacrificial love. AMEN


I.B.R.A. Readings

John 8:1-11



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