Nov. 9, 2020

They hated Me without a cause

We have just experienced an election in this country where we can safely say that it is the culmination of the last four years. The primary platform of one of the parties was not based on policies or programs. That party didn’t lay out a platform of promise, instead its campaign focus was primarily on one thing, the same thing it spent the last four years doing; maligning the president, fanning the flames of hatred and division and promising to remove him from office. The strategy seems to have worked, as many people were persuaded to focus on hatred of a man, voting against him, rather than for their candidate. Driven by their hatred, fueled by a fear mongering hateful media, many would have voted for anyone who opposed the president.  It’s really not surprising. In John 15:12-25 Jesus says:  “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’”  I’m not comparing Donald Trump to Jesus. That’s not a comparison anyone could stand up to. Surely, he is an imperfect man with his share of flaws. He has a past history that reveals his imperfections. What those who hold his past against him don’t understand, is that’s what faith in Christ is about. It’s about being forgiven and redeemed from our past.  There is a lyric from the song “Who Am I” by Casting Crowns, that says: Not because of who I am But because of what You’ve done. Not because of what I’ve done But because of who You are.   In spite of his flaws, the president does confess that Jesus Christ is his Lord and Savior and like us all, he is a work in progress. Many call him and those who voted for him hypocrites. We would all do well to remember what Jesus says in Matthew 7:1-2: “Do not judge, so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” The hypocrisy of the media, many celebrities, politicians and countless others who have criticized and judged this president is astounding. Again, he is a work in progress and often reveals the work that is still to be done in the things that he says, but he did surround himself with and sought counsel from many people of faith, both within and from outside of his administration.  It’s not surprising then that those who reject God and Christ also reject and hate him. It’s not surprising that in our culture and society, those who love and trust in Christ; those who believe and follow God’s word are being cast as haters, when in truth they are the hated.

Time will tell what the outcome will be. One thing is certain, if this nation and our culture and society continues in its path of rejecting God, embracing lawlessness, violence and immorality, those who stand with God and embrace His commandments will be rejected and hated. For those who are believers, we have the benefit of knowing the promise of God, that this life is but a twinkling in the scheme of eternity. In Luke 9:26 Jesus says:  “Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”   For myself, I care much more about being on the right side of that decision than I care about the things of this temporal world.  God gives us all a free will to decide for ourselves what we will do, whether we will accept or reject Him. In Isaiah 5:20 God says:  Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!  God will also allow this nation to choose the path it will take. If that is the path that our nation chooses is to continue to embrace lawlessness and immorality; to call evil good, and good evil; to substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, then the nation will receive the consequences of its choice.   

For believers, regardless of how the world views and treats us, even though they may despise, ridicule and even persecute us, in Luke 6:27-28 Jesus says:  I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”   Jesus says they hated Him without cause. If we would be hated, may it be for the cause of Christ. In the darkening culture and society, may we be what Jesus says in Matthew 5:14-16:  “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

May the words of the psalmist in Psalm 56 be our declaration and prayer: Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me; Fighting all day long he oppresses me. My foes have trampled upon me all day long, For they are many who fight proudly against me. When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?  All day long they distort my words;
All their thoughts are against me for evil.  They attack, they lurk, They watch my steps, As they have waited to take my life…  Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?  Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call; This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, In the Lord, whose word I praise,  In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?  Your vows are binding upon me, O God; I will render thank offerings to You.  For You have delivered my soul from death, Indeed my feet from stumbling, So that I may walk before God
In the light of the living.
  Amen. Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit. Amen.