Is everything upside down?
If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. – John 15:18
22 What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man.
23 When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.
27 You who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.
28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.
29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.
30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back.
31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them!
33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much!
34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.
35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.
36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
Because of the process of refraction, the human eye sees everything upside down. Why doesn’t the world look upside down to us? The human brain does a remarkable thing. The brain takes raw, inverted data and turns it into a coherent, right-side-up image. Essentially, the brain almost instantaneously converts the sensory information that it takes in and makes it fit with what it already knows.
But what if the world we already know, as it appears to us, is in fact upside down? Is seeing believing, or is believing seeing?
Recall the 1999 blockbuster movie, The Matrix. It envisioned a world where everyone lives inside of a simulation. What appeared to be real to those in the simulation was not real at all. Rather than living in freedom, they are being controlled by machines. They are unaware that the world in which they live is not actually so. Rather, it is merely a computer simulation.
The standards the Lord Jesus Christ delineates often seem totally backward, incongruent, and odds with the reality of life as we know it.
The Lord Jesus Christ said He was the Truth. His teaching regarding how we are to live and act is seemingly upside down. His thinking appears contrary to what we ostensibly know, impractical to life is experienced on planet Earth. It is at times frustratingly and radical. As children of the King, we are to be unique. We are the salt and light of the world.
What sets us apart? We are to deal with people and react to situations differently than expected. We are to be kind and forgiving to evil and ungrateful people. We are to put others first and serve without complaint.
“If the Father were not kind to the unthankful and evil, where would any of us be? The Father will always judge sin, but He most desires that we turn from our sin and come to Him” (Stanley).
REFLECT & PRAY
As we look out and observe, what do we see, the world as it appears to be, or the world as it really is?
Father I recognize that too often my opinions and inadequate understanding come from my limited and damaged heart. May I begin to see things as they really are and stand firmly upon the Truth of Your Word.
Whether we like it or not, there is a natural, deep-felt antipathy between the children of the King and the children of the god of this world.
John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
James 4:4 Friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
The attitude of the world toward the Lord Jesus Christ is on the surface, inexplicable. How was it possible that so many failed to accept and appreciate the sheer goodness and inestimable worth of the Lord Jesus Christ? Why should the world hate the children of the King who follow Him?
The answer is simple, the Lord Jesus Christ exposes sin. As the clear sunlight reveals stains and flaws which escape notice in a lesser light, so His presence reveals the darkness of the world’s sin.
People prefer darkness rather than light. When the light of the world made His presence known, folks opted for darkness because darkness hides their sin. But there’s more. Not only do they prefer darkness, but they also hate light.
19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.
20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.
The evil that lurks within people is exposed by the words and deeds of Christ. His presence revealed their sin as deliberate and inexcusable. Ignorance was no longer an excuse.
John 8:12 I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.
What sad pathos! People fall in love with the darkness of sin and rebel against the light. When the light appears, they scatter, like cockroaches when a light is turned on. They have become adapted to the darkness. They are like the fish in the Mammoth Cave which no longer have eyes, but only sockets where eyes used to be.
There are two Greek words for evil in these verses. The first is poneros, which means wicked, evil, bad, base, worthless, vicious, or degenerate. The English word pornography is derived from this term.
The second is phaulos, it is more insidious than mere wickedness. The English word paltry comes from this word. It means lacking in importance or worth, trivial, petty, careless, thoughtless, indifferent, inferior in quality, ordinary, meager, measly.
But there’s more. Darkness is indeed a spiritual reality. It is a place, a kingdom controlled by the enemy. The two driving forces of darkness are mediocrity and degenerate wickedness.
“The men who followed Him were unique in their generation. They turned the world upside down because their hearts had been turned right side Up. The world has never been the same” (Billy Graham).
© Dr. H 2022