Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first” (John 15:18). It is not hard these days to find religion in general and Christianity in particular being mocked in popular culture. Neither is it hard to find intellectuals who expound apparently strong arguments against Christianity, or elite artists who deliberately craft works in order to offend Christian sensibilities. We Christians may feel these attacks personally and start to wonder what the future holds in store for us and our faith.
As adults, we do not often experience direct personal attacks from acquaintances about our religion because most people are respectful of profound religious convictions, at least to our faces. But, among children things are different. A student at a public school recently described to me some of the challenges she faces trying to socialize with other students who openly mock and attack her Christian beliefs. Even her friends attack her faith.
When we encounter such hatred from the world, according to Christ, our first response must be to realize that we are not alone. If the world hates us, we must realize that it hated Christ first. By thus being hated we are joined to Christ who chose us out of the world and by whose power we no longer belong to the world. We must be careful, then, not to hate the world in return, but to treat it the way Christ did and still does, that is, to work for its salvation.