We're different and the world doesn't like things that are different. In every society, there is an unrelenting pressure to conform. Granted, there are some individuals and movements that oppose this. But they, too, demand conformity, conformity to their cause and way of thinking.
Still, as believers, we are no longer "of this world," and that is unacceptable to many.
First Peter 4:3-4 says, "For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you."
The world not only pushes Christians away but also, in some cases, persecutes them.
In John 15:20, Jesus told His disciples, "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."
If the Father loved the Son in a perfect, infinite, and glorious way—which He did—and didn't spare Him from going to the cross—which He didn't—what makes us think that Jesus, who loves us in the same way His Father loves Him, will spare us from being hated by the world? Will spare us from facing trails. Will spare us from going through persecution. He won't. We should expect trials and persecution.
And just why does the world hate Jesus?
Verse 22 of John 15 says, "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin."
The world hates Jesus because Jesus exposed the evil of this world.
Paul says in Ephesians 5:13, "But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible."
Jesus is the light of the world and the light exposes everything. Sin. Wickedness. Evil. Everything.
In John 3:19-20, Jesus says, "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed."
When believers are treated with hostility because they're a Christian, it's not because of them. It's because of Jesus. And unless the Holy Spirit is convicting individuals and drawing them to Christ, they will always reject Jesus.
And those who rejected Jesus when He walked the earth didn't do so because of a lack of evidence. No one else in the history of humanity spoke like Him and performed miracles like He did. He was and is the true and living God. But they rejected Him because Jesus exposed their sin. We still see this rejection today. Even though the gospel has spread throughout the world, the world still rejects it because the world loves darkness. The world loves sin.
Coworkers, colleagues, classmates, family, and friends may push us away as we seek to follow the Lord. An increasingly godly lifestyle may begin to convict them of their sin—even if we don't "call them out" because of it.
Paul says, in Colossians 4:5-6, "Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person."
Others may be attracted to the changes in us. But when we tell them the reason, everything changes. Unless the Holy Spirit does a work in their heart, they will always be intolerant towards Jesus. They'll be attracted to our demeanor until we make it clear that God has an absolute moral standard. Then, seemingly out of left field, they'll accuse us of being intolerant. We're the ones who are judgmental. We're the ones who are hateful.
Jesus tells us not to be surprised when this happens. We are not to be personally offended by it. In essence, Jesus is telling us, "It's not you, it's me."
If we profess Christ and unbelievers don't distance themselves from us … If they don't treat us differently … If they don't think we're any different than before we became Christian … Then there's a problem.
Some believe if they go along with the world, then the world will accept them and become more receptive to the gospel. Not true.
We can't ignore what Jesus says in Matthew 5:11-12, "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
If we love Jesus and are abiding in His Word, that means we're doing two things: reading, studying, believing, and obeying His Word and loving others as Christ loved us. We will share the gospel. The world will reject and hate us—as they did Jesus. We should expect persecution. But we should also be comforted, knowing it's not us who is being targeted. It's Christ.