Hate is a four-letter word. So much destruction in our world has occurred due to this one emotion. And yet, if we really are honest with ourselves, we are no strangers to hate. We hate things about ourselves. We hate things about other people. We hate Mondays, politics, and taxes!
But when hate becomes a way of life, devastation is all that is left in its path.
Would it surprise you to know that God hates? The God we serve is holy and righteous …and He hates. What He hates though is sin. As we struggle to separate ourselves from our shortcomings and failures, He is able to see our sin nature and see our spirit person all at the same time. What we cannot separate, He is more than able to do.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. Romans 8:1-2 NLT
And least we think that God hasn’t been on the receiving end of hate, Jesus clearly states in John 15:18:
“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.” NLT
What is evident about God’s nature is that His first solution to dissolving hate is forgiveness. Though He hates sin behavior or is the receiptant of hate from His creation, He first response is to offer forgiveness. If only we could do that!
My mother suffered a stroke in 2014, leaving me and another sibling to oversee her care. My sibling’s behavior was less than stellar and strong, hard feelings developed quickly. Arguments ensued to the point that there was a court case. My anger toward this sibling was heightened at each unsavory meeting. The cold, calculated movements by this person was beyond what I could tolerate and at some point a level of hate entered my heart.
I was being human and I wasn’t feeling very Christ-like in that moment. Yet God reminded me – hate the behavior, not the person.
If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 1 John 4:20 NLT
Holding on to hate only wrecks us, not the person we are projecting it at. Oh, we can hurt people with our hate-filled actions, but in the end, it is ourselves that we are destroying. And God is clear with us that when we don’t forgive others, we ourselves cannot be forgiven.
But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15 NLT
I want what God has for me. Don’t you?
Let’s not forfeit any more of our energy, time, or blessings by holding on to hate in our hearts. Let’s be honest with God that we have let some things get out of hand, that we have wallowed in our hate, and that at times we have become quite comfortable with it. Let’s look on our fellow human being and attempt to see the person behind the behavior. And if we find ourselves in a situation that we cannot resolve on our own (because reconciliation is a two-way street), let’s give that situation over to God, offer forgiveness, and simply walk away if necessary.
Countless times I have heard stories of family members who have offered forgiveness over hate to people who have destroyed or taken the life of one of their loves ones. These are the families that thrive, some even go on to make a huge difference in society by raising awareness about a specific issue. However, families who hold on to their hate remain stuck, reliving the tragedy over and over again. Their life becomes an endless repetition of what was instead of what could be.
Today, I am going to leave you with some quotes about hate. May we seek the truth of forgiveness!
When boiled down to its essence, unforgiveness is hatred. – John R. Rice
You will never really love until you love someone who hates you. – Jack Hyles
Hatred is self-punishment. – Hosea Ballou
I have decided to stick with love. hate is too great a burden to bear. – Martin Luther King Jr.
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. – Martin Luther King Jr.
Founder, Transforming Love Ministries
Creator, She Steps Forward Women’s Conference
For more of Elaine’s story, you can find Love Echoed Back: I Cried Out; He Answered on amazon.com.
Please note all scripture was taken from the NLT.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.