Joh 15:19-20 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (20) Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
Joh 16:1-3 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. (2) They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. (3) And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me.
My old friend Henry disappeared last December 11th. Weeks later, his body was found in the river. All indications point toward suicide. Henry had been persecuted at work and, as he had said in the days before his death, “my dream job has become a nightmare.”
Henry was a very kind person. I met him in Bible college many years ago. Henry loved people. He grew up in a Christian family on the family farm, surrounded by Christians.
But I believe that Henry was naive about evil. And it seems to me that as a result, evil conquered him. I believe Henry is with the Lord right now – I never doubted his profession of Christ and I still don’t. I do not believe that suicide is the unpardonable sin. I think that somehow, when confronted with the evil of this world, Henry’s worldview, his paradigm for processing things, came up short. Henry was not wise about evil and it undid him. That is what I think happened. It is just my opinion.
The Lord Jesus, in the verses quoted above, clearly and plainly warned us about this evil world. He gave us a heads up. He said that the world hated Him and that is why it will hate all who follow Him. The world HATES us. The world tries to destroy us. To shut us up. To put out the light of Christ’s truth that is shining in us. And the god of this world, the devil, has many agents available to aid him in this diabolical work.
What we absolutely must understand is that not only does the world hate us, the world most often operates as wickedness clothed in righteousness. As the Lord put it, the wolf comes dressed in sheep’s attire. Human beings are not “basically good.” The human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, as the Scripture says. The mouth of the wicked is an open grave spewing forth deadly, destructive poison. And most often, that poison is aimed at Christ’s people.
Notice in particular the sentence I have highlighted in the verse above. Jesus tells us WHY He warns us about the hatred of the world. To keep us from falling away. So that we are not surprised. So that we will understand that we have done nothing wrong. That being hated is not our fault. Rather, it is all due to the fact that the world hates Jesus Christ and thus all who belong to Him. But if we fail to fully grasp what Jesus meant in this warning, well, when the hostility and hatred come our way, there will be a danger of “falling away.” That is, of giving up and no longer following Christ.
I don’t think that Henry fell away in the sense of his soul being lost. I do not believe that a real Christian can ever be lost – “no one can pluck them out of my hand.” But I do think that a Christian can become very, very confused when the devil comes around with his lies and persecutions. We can fall away from the truth of Christ and start wondering, and even believing the devil’s filthy lies. We can grow depressed and hopeless. And yes, I think in such a condition a Christian could even choose death.
Therefore, Christian. Do not be ignorant of the devil’s devices. Do not assume that this world is basically a nice place populated with nice people. Do not be surprised when the world hates you. Because if we do not get these things right, if we fail to heed Jesus’ warnings on all this, then when the pit of hell touches us, we will have no adequate life lens through which to see what is really happening. It will be blurred to us. We will be confused, And we will feel like just giving up.