What? In the age of everybody wins and where we are constantly making an exception or allowance for just about anything for our children, why in the world would I want you to tell your kids that they are hated.
Well, if you don’t, the world will. I don’t know about you, but I like to give my children a heads up on these type of things.
If you and your children acknowledge Jesus as your Lord and Savior and your family have given their life to Him and live to serve and obey Jesus, then you will be hated. As adults we know this, but do we tell our children this?
In the scriptures
John 15:18-25 says: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’
Matthew 10:22 says: You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
The sooner our children understand that this world is not friendly to Christians the deeper their faith and reliance on Jesus becomes!
Not everyone loves Jesus
My daughter was about 5 years old when she discovered that not everyone loves Jesus! It was devastating for her. We lived across the street from a family that practiced the Hindu religion. They were having a big celebration and cars were parked up and down the streets and ladies in their beautiful brightly colored saris where ascending up the driveway into the house. It was a festive celebration taking place across the street. It so happened that our 2 story entrance and our stairway aligned so that if you sat on the top step of the stairs you had a perfect observation point for the party going on across the street. Some might call this spying, but when you’re 5 years old I think it’s just curiosity.
My daughter was enthralled with the ladies young and old in their beautiful attire. She was watching mesmerized as new cars pulled up and even more beautiful saris would appear. She came down to ask her daddy what they were doing. He told her they were celebrating a religious holiday. She looked at him with a glimmer of hope and said “us too?” And it was at that very moment we realized she thought everyone loved Jesus. We climbed back to the top step to watch our Hindu neighbors celebrate a religious holiday that did not involve the one true Lord. We explained to our sweet daughter that they did not believe in Jesus and had a religion different than ours. She was not to be dissuaded. She looked at her daddy with a bold determination in her eyes and said “Daddy you’re a preacher. Go tell them about Jesus!” Nothing like having your 5 year old convict you!
The world will hate you
If you believe in Jesus you will be hated. It tells us that in scripture so I know it to be true not just because of what is written in scripture, but through personal experience. It doesn’t tell us that hating starts when you turn 21 years old. I believe it is crucial that we inform our children that there are people who do not believe what we believe. There are people who do not know the truth. Many like those neighbors across the street are very kind and despite our very real faith differences we were good neighbors and got along fine. However, there are many that will openly hate us simply because we are Christians. Is your son or daughter ready to deal with that? Mom and Dad, are you ready to deal with that?
Be honest with your children.
They smell those cover-ups a mile away so answer questions in an age appropriate yet truthful manner.
Know what you believe and let your children know what you believe.
If you are asked: does that mean they go to hell. Answer that the Bible tells us if we believe in Jesus we will have eternity with Him. That is what we know to be true. God will worry with them but yes, the Bible indicates there is one way to true everlasting life and its through Jesus.
Teach them compassion.
Don’t let them hate back. We are called to love others and share God’s love. Teach your children to be set apart. People should notice that we are different.
Get them out if necessary
If they are in a constant situation where they are being actively hated and abused because of their faith then it may be time take action.
Acts 13:50-52 But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust of their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Pray with them and for them.
The power of prayer is a great thing to call upon when we find ourselves in moments where we are hated because of our love of Jesus.