How Not To Be Hated By The World
By bro Alvin Lin
Our Lord Jesus is "The Prince of Peace" (Isa 9:6), but He declared that He "came not to send peace, but a sword" (Mat 10:34). This is because even though He "preached peace" (Eph 2:17), "men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil" (Joh 3:19). Since there can be no "communion" between light and darkness (2Co 6:14), inevitably, the "light of the world" (Joh 8:12) comes into conflict with the world that "lieth in wickedness" (1Jo 5:19). And if even our perfect Lord, who is known for His "meekness and gentleness" (2Co 10:1), is hated by the world, then we must be prepared for the world to hate us also (Joh 15:18). In this article, we shall discuss the pitfalls of becoming conformists so as not to be hated by the world.
Be like them
Joh 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
To avoid being hated by the world, one has to be like them and blend in with the crowd. This would mean giving in to the "lust of the flesh", the "lust of the eyes", and the "pride of life" (1Jo 2:16). The world seeks sensual pleasure, crass materialism, and political clout. However, all these pursuits are short-lived and futile (1Jo 2:17).
On the other hand, standing out from the crowd may subject us to ridicule. When our Lord did not conform to the social norms and associated with sinners, the Pharisees and scribes murmured against Him (Luk 15:2). However, we are reminded that the broad and wide way that the world walks lead to destruction, while the strait and narrow way that Christ walked leads to life (Mat 7:13-14).
Do not testify of their evil.
Joh 7:7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.
To be accepted by the world, one has to turn a blind eye to their misdeeds and not testify of their evil. This would mean downplaying sin, rationalizing sin, and covering up sin (Rom 1:32). The world sugarcoats sin, appeals to situational ethics to justify sin, and lauds those who support sin as being liberal and progressive. However, such "defenders" of sin will have to face the wrath of God on Judgment Day (Rom 1:18).
On the other hand, speaking out against sin may subject us to scrutiny. When our Lord rebuked the Pharisees and lawyers, they tried to find fault with Him (Luk 11:53-54). However, we are reminded that we have a duty to warn the wicked from their sins; otherwise, we will be responsible for the damnation of their souls (Eze 33:8–9).
Join them in their wickedness
1Jn 3:12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous. 1Jn 3:13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
To be popular in the world, one has to be an accomplice in joining them in their wickedness. As the saying goes, "when in Rome, do as the Romans do." This would mean engaging in "rioting and drunkenness," "chambering and wantonness," and "strife and envying" (Rom 13:13). The world embraces and sees partying, immodesty, and politicking as a way of life. However, such a decadent lifestyle is incompatible with someone who has put on Christ and put fleshly lusts and desires to death (Rom 13:14).
On the other hand, doing the right thing may subject us to suffering. When Abel offered a "more excellent sacrifice" than Cain by faith according to God’s Word (Heb 11:4 c.f. Rom 10:17), he was killed by Cain in cold blood (Gen 4:8). However, we are reminded that those who suffer with Christ will be glorified with Him (Rom 8:17).
Today, there are worldly Christians who have sought the "friendship of the world" by being like them and not testifying of their evil, and joining them in their wickedness, but in so doing, they make themselves "the enemy of God" (Jas 4:4). Remember the words of the apostle Paul that "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2Ti 3:12). Let us not be too concerned about receiving honour from the world (Luk 6:26), but let us seek the honour that comes from God alone (Joh 5:44).