Thursday, December 5, 2013

Love and Hate

As I read the news of the vicious attack on the American embassy in Libya in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed, I wondered how people could be filled with so much hate. It seems that the Middle East is boiling over with hatred. Even here in the U.S. hatred seems to be part of our everyday life. During this election season there is so much hate shown by both sides against those they disagree with.

I recently read the following written by Nelson Mandela. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than it’s opposite”. How can we be taught to love? In Matthew 5:43-45 Jesus tells us, “you have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemies.’ But I say to you, love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. If you do this, you will be true children of your Father in heaven”.

As Christians we say that we follow the teachings of Jesus, but we all too often set this teaching aside. Jesus loves you and as a Christian, you love Him. You understand that He loves you not because you are worthy, but because He is love and you are so helpless in your sinful condition. I hope that you know his love first hand, from experience. So from this perspective, how would anyone understand the motivation of hate? How could a Christian think of Jesus as being a hater of His own helpless children? How could Jesus hate His own children He died to woo and save?

People who hate are not cut from the cloth of God’s family. God’s children have been rescued from, transformed from the anger of our own weakness. Christ loves us because we are His children – whether we obey or not. When we love Him, then He can give us the ability to obey and to love others as He loves us. If we hate others, even our enemies, we are in need of God’s grace and transformation. How can we hate those who Jesus gave his life for.

John 3:16,17 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

But as a Christian, shouldn't I hate evil? In Amos 5:15 the Bible tells us to, “Hate evil, love good”. I like the way that Mark Lowry talks about this issue. “Love the sinner, hate the sin? How about: Love the sinner, hate your own sin! I don’t have time to hate your sin. There are too many of you! Hating my sin is a full time job. How about you hate your sin, I’ll hate my sin, and let’s just love each other”. When we love Jesus, then He can give us the ability to obey and to love others as He loves us. It is God’s grace that saves us from sin. Grace not only forgives our past sin, but it also frees us from the power of sin, the power of hate, so we can be obedient to the God of love.

In 1 John 4:20,21 the Bible plainly tells us, “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

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