Brotherly loveA study was recently published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology which concluded that individuals who display consistently unselfish behavior are often rejected by peer groups for exhibiting this behavior.  The basic conclusion was that the individual was seen as a “rule-breaker” (breaking from society’s norms), someone who made others in the peer group “look bad”, someone who made them feel uncomfortable (feeling like they “owed” the do-gooder something in return), or as someone with ulterior motives.

This might seem surprising or counter-intuitive, but consider:

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.

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 the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is 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. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, 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.’

When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

Being Hated for the Right Reasons

So you see, Jesus, in the same conversation in which he gives the command that we should love each other, his next observation is that the world will hate us as a result, if we are acting like him.

Doing the right thing the wrong wayWe should not be surprised that we’re disliked by the world (and by other Christians) if we act like asses by showing up and preaching hate at gay pride parades, wielding our bullhorns to assault Spring Break partiers, or protesting at funerals of soldiers. The hate and dislike of our sanctimonious, ego-edifying grandstanding is rather understandable, and credits righteousness to nobody, ourselves included.

However, if we act like Christ and unselfishly serve, we should also not be surprised that the world will distrust our motives and reject us as ‘rule-breakers’. If we act consistently, though, Christ will be lifted up so that others will see him in the works he has given us to do.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 at 10:33 am and is filed under Church and Society, Devotional, Original Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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13 Comments(+Add)

1   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
August 25th, 2010 at 11:44 am

I have seen this sort of thing actually play out in a few different situations. I think it is true that when a person genuinely tries helping other people, others start suspecting that person of having ulterior motives. It’s quite sad, actually. It’s like there is something within us that fights back against the thing we often need the most.

2   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
August 25th, 2010 at 11:45 am

We should not be surprised that we’re disliked by the world (and by other Christians) if we act like asses by showing up and preaching hate at gay pride parades, wielding our bullhorns to assault Spring Break partiers,

Blah, Blah, Blah…

3   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
August 25th, 2010 at 1:57 pm

What’s interesting is that those things you listed (to which John responded) are actually not society rule-breakers. They are right in line with how one group acts when another group does not act or believe what they believe. This is evident in politics, in the workplace, with fans of sport teams, etc.

But if someone takes the high road by not responding in kind, then they are actually rule-breakers.

4   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
August 25th, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Blah, Blah, Blah…

Translation: “I hate it when you are right and I have nothing clever to say in return.”

5   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 25th, 2010 at 2:26 pm

“We should not be surprised that we’re disliked by the world (and by other Christians) if we act like asses by showing up and preaching hate at gay pride parades, wielding our bullhorns to assault Spring Break partiers, or protesting at funerals of soldiers.”

Or slander the president personally with adolescent names and exhibit an unredemptive attitude towrd him (or others) based in large part because our wealth is in jeopardy. Yes, I can see why the world would get the wrong impression of Jesus and dislike us.

This may be one reason why they like Jesus (the real one) and dislike the church. :cool:

BTW – If you withdraw from politics and especially nationalism you are a target from both sides – “liberal or conservative”.

6   nc    
August 25th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I’m always going to associate bullhorn “love” and all other forms of ass-hattery with the mental image of a man trying to nurse a baby.

priceless.

7   nc    
August 25th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

thank you.

8   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 25th, 2010 at 3:54 pm

I’m always going to associate bullhorn “love” and all other forms of ass-hattery with the mental image of a man trying to nurse a baby.

Thanks, nc – I’d been saving that one for just such an occasion… :)

9   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
August 25th, 2010 at 10:44 pm

‘ass hattery’ is still one of the best phrases ever.

Period.

10   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
August 26th, 2010 at 8:33 am

#4 I have something perfectly clever to say, Jerry.
We are commanded to preach the Gospel in the whole world, to every creature. This includes spring break partiers and homosexuals. The Gospel includes notice and warning that if people die in their sins, they will incur the wrath of God for eternity. Sometimes, amplification is necessary to be able to be heard above the din of the crowd (It also beats yelling, because raising ones voice makes them seem angry).
I know this comment is simply hatred of the gospel because when muslim, athiestic, anarchy groups (as well as unions…and other people) use bullhorns to get their message across they are not criticized. When a Christian does it, it is hateful and unloving.

Like I said…blah, blah, blah

or…as Elaine Benes puts it…yada yada, yada.

11   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 26th, 2010 at 9:17 am

I know this comment is simply hatred of the gospel because when muslim, athiestic, anarchy groups (as well as unions…and other people) use bullhorns to get their message across they are not criticized.

Perhaps they’re not criticized for the same reason we don’t complain that dogs sit in the middle of the room and lick their private parts…

When a Christian does it, it is hateful and unloving.

…whereas if our 21-year-old son was doing it, we’d have a problem.

We aren’t surprised, and don’t typically complain when pagans act like asshats – it’s what they do. When Christians follow suit, it’s an embarrassment and contrary to the Gospel they claim to preach.

Context, context, context.

12   nc    
August 26th, 2010 at 9:34 am

who knew that “spring break partiers” was yet another quantifiable category of sinner now?

For all the talk of grace it just seems some people are really really good at adding new categories/classifications of nitpicking.

yea, verily I tell ye the “truth” that neither spring breakers nor those who disagree with me shall inherit the Kingdom of Bullhorn Love.

13   nc    
August 26th, 2010 at 9:34 am

@Chris L.

Just so you know, I’m totally scarred by the image of the 21 year old in the middle of the room.