Today's epistle and gospel readings both talk about hatred, but they discuss it from opposite directions, which makes for interesting reading and meditation. Rarely do we think about hating and being hated at the same time.
In 1 John 2, we are reminded that the idea of a Christian harboring hatred toward another believer is nonsensical and hypocritical. How can we claim to love Christ and hate our fellow Christian? Honestly, because all Christians are simul justus et peccator (at the same time righteous [in Christ] and sinful [in our flesh]), we fail miserably at this command all the time. We fail to love and fail to be easy to love. Yet, that fact doesn't change our goal. That doesn't change the standard to which we strive. The focus here is essential. This text is not a ruler by which to judge the actions and intentions of others--to determine who are the 'real' Christians or the 'good' Christians. This text is a mirror by which to judge ourselves--to point out our own sinfulness and keep us constantly mindful of our need for forgiveness and healing.
Looking at hatred from the receiving end, Jesus in John 17 reminds us again that the world is not our cheerleader. In fact, as the world hated him, it will hate his bride (the Church) and everyone associated with it. As I pointed out last week, that's okay. As St. Cyril points out, "The world indeed hates Christ because it is in conflict with his words and does not accept his teaching. People’s minds entirely yield to base desires. And even as the world hates our Savior Christ, it has also hated the disciples who carry through him his message" (Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of John). In other words, what do we expect? The faithful church will never be applauded by the world and its fallen culture. The moment that happens, look out! Historically, in times when the church has been favored by the world, she has done something to quit being the church. If you need validated by the world, you aren't going to be successful while bearing the cross.
Thankfully, the world's approval is meaningless in the grand scheme. Christian, you have your Father's approval--and that's what truly matters.