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It's Good to Be Hated [9-1-19]

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Who is harder to love? Someone you like or someone you don't like? Hands down the second one. There are people who come in and out of your life that, upon further review, you really don't like. While humorist Will Rogers is best remembered for having said, "I never met a man I didn't like," we all know someone who clearly would have caused him to change his mind.

The incredible thing is God, in Jesus Christ, challenges us to love likeable and unlikeable people. Here's the distinction I make. There will be people I don't like. None of them are a part of Covenant Church {just in case you were wondering}. But there are people I would never choose to hang around with. There are people I just don't like. Here's the distinction…and Jesus demands I make this distinction. If I saw someone I knew and didn't like lying in a ditch, in need of help, I would have no choice but to help. Jesus commands me to choose to help. I still don't have to like that person. But I am commanded to help. I hope that makes sense.

As we pivot from the first half of chapter 15 to the second half, check-out one of the fastest turn-arounds in the Bible.

In John 15:17, Jesus says, "These things I command you, so that you love one another."

In John 15:18, Jesus says, "If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you."

From love to hate in just a few words. The word hate is used seven times in this section.

The reality is, in some subtle and not-so-subtle ways, the world is going to hate you because you are a follower of Jesus Christ. Paul says as much in Romans 12:2:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

When you don't try to fit in…when you don't go with the flow…when you don't choose the pat