When You are Hated…
November 8, 2020
Like you, I’ve had relationships where I’ve known the other person didn’t like me. Those are hard relationships. You know that and have experienced that. But I don’t know that I’ve had anyone ever really hate me — hate me to the point of working against me, to persecute me, and to destroy me.
Guido de Brès was the author of the Belgic Confession of faith and a faithful follower of Christ. He was imprisoned for his faith and sentenced to death. In April, 1567, he wrote to his wife to encourage her in her faith, even while death awaited him. Among other things he noted this:
I am held in a very strong prison, very bleak, obscure and dark.…On my feet and hands I have irons, big and heavy. They are a continual hell, hollowing my limbs up to my poor bones. The chief constable comes to look at my irons two or three times a day, fearing that I will escape. There are three guards of forty men before the door of the prison.
I have also the visits of Monsieur de Hamaide. He comes to see me, to console me, and to exhort me to patience, as he says. However, he comes after dinner, after he has wine in the head and a full stomach. You can imagine what these consolations are. He threatens me and says to me that if I would show any intention of escaping he would have me chained by the neck, the body and legs, so that I could not move a finger; and he says many other things in this order. But for all that, my God does not take away his promises, consoling my heart, giving me very much contentment.
When you are hated — hated to the point of persecution, what do you do? That’s the issue Paul addresses in the last portion of Romans 12. He tells us at the beginning of the chapter that because of all that we have in our salvation (chs. 1-11), we should be renewed and transformed (12:1-2). And that renewal will overflow in the use of our spiritual gifts that we have been given (vv. 3-8). And as we use our gifts, we will cultivate relationships in the church body that are loving (vv. 9-11), even in the face of hardship (vv. 12-13). But what about hard relationships — the relationships when people are out to harm you? What then?
Paul answers that question in Romans 12:14-16 by saying,
When people are personally opposed to you, be a blessing to them.
In this passage, Paul provides us with six priorities when people are against us:
- When You are Persecuted: Love and Don’t Hate (v. 14)
- When Others are Joyful: Rejoice (v. 15a)
- When Others Grieve: Grieve (v. 15b)
- In Every Relationship: Be impartial and unity-minded (v. 16a)
- In Every Relationship: Be a servant to the needy (v. 16b)
- In Every Relationship: Be humble (v. 16c)
Download the rest of this sermon on Romans 12:14-16.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.