Lord, command that we love; and give us that which thou dost command. Amen.
John 15, 17-21. These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
A Christian does not make it his endeavor to be hated of the world; but he becomes an object of the world’s hatred because he follows Jesus, and confesses his name. For the world hates Christ, and the testimony, and them that confess him. The distinctive feature of God’s people is love, while the spirit of the world is hate and enmity.
It is not possible that Christians, whose hearts are full of love, should desire the hatred of the world; on the contrary, they are sorry for the sake of those who hate them. They endeavor to be kind and patient in their dealings with all men; and they endure reproach and derision, and pray for their enemies. They seek also to choose the opportune time for the giving of their testimony, and they give it in a reverent manner, even when dealing with the most lowly of mortals. For they remember that all have been bought by Christ with a price, and they hope that the testimony concerning him will transform them into children of God. Neither do they regard themselves as too good to associate with the world; though they can not take part in, but must testify against and reprimand the world’s sinful life. — It is no easy matter to walk thus among worldly-minded men. The faithful are themselves imperfect. They are tempted not only to neglect their duty as witnesses, but also to be hasty and injudicious; and they commit many blunders which injure their testimony. Thus their heart is grieved and their conscience wounded; and they blame themselves for the unbelief of the world. “If I were such a witness as I should be, they would repent; if I were a shining example of true love in my whole life, they would know Christ and come to him.” We are sorry that the world hates us; but it is a comfort to reflect that the Lord himself was treated in the same way; and he has told us to bear this in mind. Let it only in truth be for his sake that we are hated, not on account of our own want of wisdom, and especially not by reason of hypocritical sancti moniousness on our part! Let it be for the reason, that the Lord has chosen us; that we are like him; and that they do not know us, because they do not know him and the Father!
Give us, O God, the love of Jesus Christ in our hearts; that our whole life may bear witness that we are thy children, that we love one another, and that we walk in the light. Give us courage to proclaim thy truth, and give us joy in tribulations for Jesus’ sake. Take pity on the world, and let our testimony bring many to repentance. Give us this grace, merciful God. Amen.
Through the night of doubt and sorrow
Onward goes the pilgrim band,
Singing songs of expectation,
Marching to the promised land.
Clear before us through the darkness
Gleams and burns the guiding light;
Brother clasps the hand of brother,
Stepping fearless through the night.