Hatred and Belonging

When I was a young boy, I spent summer
weekdays at the house of a family friend. Dad
and mom both worked, so this friend watched
my sister, my younger brother, and me while
dad and mom were at work. Those were fun
and untroubled times. There is nothing as
carefree as the life of schoolchildren in the
The babysitter was a HUGE fan of Elvis
Presley. In fact, I recall her reaction when she
learned that Elvis had died (I was eight). She
was devastated. She began crying and
wailing over this tremendous loss. As for me, I
was not too concerned. I knew what had
happened, of course. I was not disturbed,
however. But she was. She went nuts over
Elvis, along with hordes of other people. If
you have ever watched an Elvis concert, or
been to one, you know what I mean. Women
screamed and cried and fainted, particularly
when he tossed into the crowd one of his
scarves. It was crazy how the world idolized
this guy.
My sister and I are only 17 months apart.
On August 6, 1979, she and I went to a Leif
Garrett concert at Six Flags (we lived very
close to the park, so we were often there). I
was 10 years old. She was 11, almost 12.
Dad and mom did not want her at the concert
alone, so I was volunteered to be her escort
(if memory serves, Dad and/or mom were
elsewhere in the park with our younger
brother). I was (not) thrilled to be there.

Two things I remember from that concert:
one, I felt like the only male in attendance,
besides the aforementioned Mr. Garrett, of
course. And two, everyone went nuts over
this guy. Girls, moms, and grandmoms alike.
It was crazy how the world idolized this guy.
The world has its own ideas about what
is good and right and proper. It has its own
set of values. It has its own wisdom. The
world has its own principles, too, deciding by
them who is important. It determines by its
standards who is to be lionized and lauded,
who is to be adored and admired, who is to
be applauded and acclaimed, and who is to
be cheered and celebrated. The world is
amazingly consistent in this. Based upon its
own conventional ethic, the world places a
priority on certain groups: celebrities,
athletes, entertainers, and even politicians.
The world falls at the feet of such people. It
elevates them to god-like status, and it often
dares the rest of us to disagree.
In contrast, the world hates the people of
God. Based on the world’s principles, we are
a threat. We do not live by its conventions,
nor do we subscribe to its ethic. As followers
of Christ, we stand opposed to the
machinations of a world that rejects God and
his word. As a result, we are seen as the
enemy. We are in the way. In the view of the
world, we are antiquated and irrelevant. To it
we are a product of a bygone era, something
that is silly and useless and ultimately false.
This has always been the case. Jesus
warned about this very thing, in fact. In John
15, Jesus confirmed to his disciples that the
world hates them, and for a specific reason.
The world hates you, Jesus said to his
followers, “because you are not of the world”
(v. 19).
And there it is. Followers of Christ are
rejected, maligned, and attacked precisely
because we are followers of Christ. We do
not live like the world. We are not advocates
for its tenets. Nor are we proponents of its
wisdom. We belong to Jesus.

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