That’s right, don’t be surprised, alarmed, frightened or perplexed.
Nearly 2,000 years ago the ageing disciple John was writing a marvellously encouraging letter to his followers, full of pleas to love, and to have great hope. The letter bursts with the joy and hope we have in Christ. We are told again and again in various ways to ‘rest in Christ.’
And then, here in the middle of this letter, the comment, ‘Don’t be surprised if the world hates you.’ And then he moves right back to his exhortations to love one another and to abide/rest in Him.
What struck me reading this verse (3:13) is how fleeting this reference is, how incidental. That’s all he gives this fact that we so often agonise over, wringing our hands over every new evidence of ‘persecution of the church’ especially within the arena of our local and state governments.
No, John simply says ‘don’t be surprised by this hatred’ and goes right back to encouraging us to be tellers and demonstrators of the good news, the only real good news around.
I think that itself is worth us reflecting on. Am I exuding the joy of the good news? or am I exhibiting anxiety and peevishness that the ‘world is winning the culture war?’ You know, regardless of who is winning the so-called culture war, our job is still simple; to be and to tell the good news.
If you haven’t lately, read John’s stirring letters. Let them fill you afresh with confidence, peace, assurance.