Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Who do you hate, gentle reader?
Who hates you?
Is there a difference?
(For me, there is no difference.)
Hate can spring up so quickly from something that seems so small...envy, anger, frustration...you name it. Sometimes even the tiniest seed of irritation can grow into a giant cactus in the middle of our flower garden. Nothing pushes me closer to the brink of hatred like unloading the dishwasher after someone else has loaded it. I'm not kidding. Ask me about it--I'll tell you some time.
But here's the thing--and I hope this knocks your socks off, the way it did mine--we don't have the right to hate each other. God doesn't give us that right. The only one with the power to judge is the Lord. Not me. And who am I to hate someone God loves dearly as his own? Can I claim his love--to be loved as his beloved, chosen child while hating someone all the while? Surely hating while being God's beloved are incongruous. 1 John 4:10 says, "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." We are loved. Loved. Loved. The Bible is very clear on this. This is just one example of God's love for us among MANY. If you don't believe me, go to ebible.com and type in the word love.
Anyway, back to hate. Let me lay this one from Exodus 23:4 on ya, "If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him."
I believe what the metaphor is pointing at here is the idea that if someone who hates you is burdened or in jeopardy, you shall rescue them. If you are able to help, you may not turn away. In this way, we are bound to those we hate! Imagine that. We are already bound to them in our hearts...carrying around the burden of our hatred, but we are bound by Christ's love to help them.
What does it do to our hearts if we unburden the ones who hate us? Since, really, there is no difference between being hated and hating (at least for me. If you are able to make a distinction, you are a better man or woman than I), if we turn around and help those that we hate, what happens?
Now, I suppose there are circumstances where this won't happen or isn't possible. But I propose that there are situations where it IS possible. Where it can happen.
So, go for it. I encourage you to, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you." Luke 6:27-28.
I'm going to give it my honest-to-goodness best shot, and with God's grace maybe I will be able to let go of my hate and become more like him in the process.
Let me know how it works out.