Tri City Presbyterian Church

Ministries

Love vs Hate

A message shared by Elder Linda Gregg.

If we close our eyes for just a moment and try, we can visualize and feel the wonders of God’s world. We can see the beauty of a sunrise or how at night the stars light up the heavens above. If we try we can smell the freshness that fills the air after a light rainfall, and feel the breeze of the gentle wind. It’s easy to look around and in every corner see the magic of and feel God’s love. One of the greatest blessings Jesus obtained for us is the love of God. Christ came into the world and gave his life that we might know and enjoy all the wondrous gifts of God’s love. A love that is so perfectly suited to the needs of our soul that it is all we need for a full and satisfied life. It is the only thing that is able to make us truly happy and completes us. It is when the love of God doesn’t flourish in our hearts do we then become vulnerable to the emotion called hate.

We use the term hate in the most casual manner. We laugh off a child hating their vegetables and just assume it’s a phase, an adult hates their job, so we shrug and say just get another. You’ll hear people say I hate Mondays, I hate the snow, or I hate getting up in the morning. Simple figures of speech that we don’t think too much about. Many acts of hatred are directed at oneself. People judge themselves harshly when feeling guilty for something they have done and feel that forgiveness is no longer possible. It often comes from an insecurity within and leads the person to attack those who are different. Self-hatred can contribute to not only depression but self-harm, only breeding more pain. Hatred goes a bit deeper when individual behavior becomes a social one. Matters of religion are part of the discourse in society. It is also evident in social media outlets where people express lack of respect and make hateful accusations to attack those who disagree with them.

Then there is the extreme hatred between people. Take for instance the Hatfield and McCoys. It was so wrong for them to hate each other just because of who they were or because of something that had been done in either their past or their present. It’s equally wrong to hate others because they don’t believe as you believe. I was asked once how I could be friends with one of my closest friends of 30 plus years because not only is she a socialist but an atheist. According to this person we should hate each other. She shook her head in disbelief when I explained our friendship was based not on our differences but the love and respect we have for each other in spite of them. And, of course, the fact that we mutually agree it’s not wise for us to discuss either topic.

We can attempt to modify the act of hating with several different synonyms, but it doesn’t matter how you wrap it up, hate still remains the same ugly thing, and it still produces the same ugly results in human life. When people hate people or react in hateful ways they are in direct violation of Jesus’ command to love one another, and it will not be ignored by God. Jesus said we are to love everyone, even those who do us wrong. When we refuse to forgive, we are actually condemning ourselves before God.

Turning on the daily news, reading the paper, or sometimes even watching a movie, you can’t help but notice how hate-filled the world has become. You could easily get the impression that some people just enjoy hating someone else. The Hatfield and McCoy feud may have been a macho thing in the eyes of humans, but when Satan brought hate into their families he condemned all those who gave way to that hatred and it lasted for decades. When any of us allow ourselves to fall to that emotion we are standing at the doorway of Satan’s path. Ask yourself, whatever happened to our grandparents advice: “Don’t hate people, just hate their ways”?

Hate can destroy the hater’s life and their relationships with other people. It is a sad thing to watch someone hate and see how it can eventually transform them. Hate can ultimately manifest itself in distress, emotional problems and in violent actions. But of all the harm that hate can do to a person, it is the attack on our spirit that is the most devastating. We know that hate comes from Satan. We can’t easily stop Satan from putting wrong thoughts in our minds, but we have total control over what we do with those thoughts. As soon as Satan puts a hateful thought in our minds we need to actively resist that thought. The only true way of stopping hate is by drawing closer to God. Our heart will control our actions when our heart is submissive to the will of God. We can’t fake it with God.

We can’t truly forgive with our minds, it doesn’t work that way. We can do all kinds of loving and good things because our minds tell us to do them, but if we’re not submissive to the will of God our righteousness means nothing. If we feel no remorse over our ill feelings toward someone, it means we can never truly repent, and therefore we can never receive forgiveness from God. Hate is a serious evil in our life. Scientists claim there is a thin line between love and hate. I suppose that makes sense since hate is the opposite of love just as darkness is the opposite of light. As love is a tremendously powerful emotion and powerful positive force in our lives, hate is also a tremendously powerful emotion and powerful negative force. That is why Jesus has said God cannot forgive someone who still has hate in their heart. We must forgive from our heart not from our head, which is the only way God can empower us with the capability to truly forgive. Poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou wrote: “Hate has caused a lot of problems in this world, but has yet to solve one.”

Unfortunately, a vast majority of people don’t want to stop hating. Their hatred has given them the energy to strike out against anyone whom they feel has wronged them and drives them to seek revenge. Some strictly relish in the act of hating using it as an excuse to inflict pain on anyone. We see too often in our world today violent, vicious actions being perpetrated against someone because of their religious beliefs, their skin color, their sexual preferences, their politics or because they are so very young, completely innocent and helpless to protect themselves. Evil has set up camp within their hearts and turned their hearts black. Satan’s evil takes God’s love, diverts it, and twists it, and that brings them closer to Satan. By dwelling on our hurts the more we hate, and the more we hate the more our actions are controlled by that hate. As more hate consumes the world, the louder Satan laughs. And as more of the world becomes his pawns, the stronger his grip on humanity grows!

Discrimination against Christians around our entire globe is not only being allowed, it’s being applauded. People have fallen into the belief that if they are a non-Christian they must hate Christians and thus Christians are their enemies and must feel their wrath. The fear that Christians feel throughout the world is real, and yet millions still refuse to waiver in their faith and they stand devoted to God. Sometimes it’s a difficult struggle not to hate those that are inflicting the terrible pain. But we know words, attitudes, and prejudices only stand in the way of God’s purpose. We should always remember that others may hate you, but they don’t win unless you hate them back and then you destroy yourself.

As true believers, we know that whatever trials we may face, God’s love will never abandon us for God is ever faithful. By spiritually surrendering oneself to our loving God and tapping into the power of God, those that hate today could rescue their souls from the evil their hatred has thrown them into. Nelson Mandela said: “No one is born hating, they must learn hate. And if they can learn to hate they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Only God knows why he has allowed evil and hate to exist as it does, but every Christian knows when he has finally had enough he will send his Son to set it all right. Then all of God’s promises to us will come to pass. Hatred will win many battles but it will ultimately lose the war. God wants to bring love into our lives but we must want to know God and submit to him. When we do that, all will be right within oneself.…..AMEN.