“If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother and sister, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother or sister.” This is the powerful admonition offered in 1 John 4:20-21 regarding love and hate.
Consider this… If God made man to love one another, why isn’t hate an anomaly, abnormal, a malfunction of the human mind? Imagine, if hate were not accepted as a norm, but a departure or deviation from what is normal, a disorder, a mental illness, it might be treated appropriately, as such. In this modern, 21st century world, hate is as pervasive as any previous time in human history— it’s not new, but just as corrosive to a society. Hate is a thought-born illness, spread by hate-promoting books, hate-slanted media, and charismatic leaders espousing evil, xenophobic, racist, sexist rhetoric about a particular group.
If hate is a loudly accepted psycho-pandemic, impervious to reason, logic or rational thought, why then haven’t the brightest scientific minds at top pharmaceutical firms, Moderna, Astro-Zeneca, J&J, Bristol-Myers Squibb, been deployed to research, discover, and develop a safe and effective cure? A vaccine to eradicate this monster once and for all— a vaccine, the sole purpose of which is to save mankind? Why rely on megalomaniacal, self–serving politicians and ineffective policies for an antidote to this poison– hate?
As prevalent as hate is throughout America, pitting races against races, and throughout the world, pitting nations against nations, it’s also a very personal matter, a very personal malady. Just as it creates dangerous, war-torn barriers, borders and territories around the globe, it also creates toxic divides within families, friendships, churches, businesses and neighborhoods. Envy, anger, jealously, resentment, hostility, indignation, and spite can bring out the worst in any one of us. We’re all susceptible! Deep within the trenches of intolerance, and the unwillingness or inability to forgive, we fall victim to the infection, the virus, the lethal venom of hate.
Who do you despise? Who do you refuse to forgive? Who will you stubbornly vow to never speak to again? Whose name is it, the very mention of which, invokes a feeling of disgust within you? It’s that feeling within you should hate, not that person. When the Word says, there is a time for love, and a time for hate, the reference is not to a person or people, but to their sins, it’s their evil deeds we should despise. Amos 5:15 tells us to “Hate evil, love good,” therefore, it’s the racism we should hate, not the racist. It’s the injustice we should hate, not the perpetrator of injustice. Hate the corruption, not the corrupt cop.
What if there were no reasons for envy, jealously, resentment? John Lennon says in his song “Imagine”, “Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can, no need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man.”
Galatians 5:13 says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free; but do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” It can be said of us that we love the wrong things too much, material comfort and possessions, and hate what is deserving of
our disdain far too little. Do you love everything about yourself? Are there not any qualities or characteristics within you that are deserving of reproach?
God wants me to hate any spirit of anger, resentment, envy, jealously, resentment, or hostility within me. I want to pull the weeds of indignation out of me by the roots. I hate the hate in me! I pray that He removes it as if it were cancerous tissue caught up in my bones. Only then can I love completely as intended in Genesis 1:26 when God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, and in Our likeness,” but how is that possible? How could we ever imagine ourselves in the image of God? Through kindness and patience, through a spirit of mercy, grace, and forgiveness— through love.
That’s what’s on my mind!