“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”John 15:18
Jesus warned his disciples that they would be hated. They would be hated because Jesus was hated. He also warned them that if he was persecuted, they would be persecuted as well, and we know Jesus was persecuted. He was perfect and sinless, and yet, he was beaten and crucified. Crucifixion was one of the worst, most humiliating ways to die, and it was excruciating.
Jesus’s words also came to pass. All of the disciples, except for John, were murdered. Peter was crucified upside down. Paul was most likely beheaded. Early Christians were murdered by the hundreds. Nero, a Roman Emperor in the first century AD, had Christians gather and killed. Some were sent to be torn apart by dogs and others were burned alive and used as human torches. Throughout the history of the Church, believers have been hated and have suffered, but it is nothing compared to how Christ suffered on the cross, bearing all the sins of mankind.
For the most part, if you are a Christian living in the US or another “Christian” nation, then the hate you experience will be more subtle than the persecution the early church faced. Yet, that suffering is still real.
If you feel the hate of the world suffocating you then I encourage you to remember Jesus. Remember that he was also hated and mocked. You’re not alone. He understands how you feel. It can be so easy to give in to a spirit of self-pity but don’t. Take heart in Jesus’ words:
“…and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”Matthew 10:22, 26, 28