There’s this “church” I keep reading about (I won’t mention their name here, because they do not deserve the recognition) that has received no small amount of notoriety for picketing places that really could do without a group of angry, shouting, hate-filled people trying to draw attention to themselves and their organization by deliberately causing pain to people. They do this by telling people who and what God hates with amateurish signboards, and marching dolts barfing rhetoric that is about as far away from God as East is from West.
And it isn’t church. This particular organization seems to me to be little more than a forum for its mad-as-a-hatter leader to spew his vitriolic garbage. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but to my knowledge, the bible doesn’t say anything about God hating people for the things they do. He just hates the things they do sometimes, in the context of hating sin.
And the thing that occurred to me was that telling people who and what they should hate is about as stupid as the day is long.,
I realized that, for me, it takes way too much energy to hate. In my opinion, it’s easier to love, and to forgive.
Hatred is tiring, time consuming, and no matter how justified a person might feel in “owning” that particular emotion, it will add nothing to that person’s life in feeling it, save bitterness.
Jesus did not come here to die a criminal’s death because he hated the world or anyone in it.
He loved the world (John 3:16).
He came so those living in it could have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).
If you have a little time, go through Psalms, and count how many times you read the words “unfailing love” in regard to God.
Not unfailing hatred. Not for homosexuals, or thieves, or money launderers, or congressmen, no matter which side of the political spectrum butters their bread.
I realize this probably all sounds more than a bit disjointed, and probably doesn’t make sense to anyone but me.
But I feel moved to tell anyone who might read this not to waste another second hating someone for voting differently than you. Or having more money than you. Or praying to a different god, in a different way.
There was a person who in my youth was very close to me, who wounded me in many ways, and in fact was personally and nearly solely responsible for the lies I believed about myself for most of my life.
I wasted most of my life hating him with a passion that while I may have thought kept me warm, was really just chilling my soul.
I blamed everything wrong in my life on him, even years after he was no longer part of it.
I had all these morbid fantasies of exacting my revenge–I would even daydream about it.
The result was that the bitterness and unforgiveness that had taken root in my heart was really little better than taking a drink of poison and hoping this other person that had wronged me would die.
He didn’t, but had I kept going along that route, I don’t know what would have happened to me.
What did happen was that through the grace of God, I was able to first forgive myself for cowering in the stronghold I’d created, and then forgive this person that had wounded me.
Not just say “I forgive you,” because those words spoken without meaning are worth about as much as a Euro in Lakeside.
I’m talking about forgetting revenge, or payback, or rectification of any kind. I mean actual forgiveness, that I thought I would never feel.
And what it felt like was shackles falling away from my soul.
This forgiveness is available to anyone that wants it, but you have to let go of hatred for whatever is holding you back from receiving it.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10).
He loved us that much. Still does.
Think about that…and then think about whether or not holding onto your hatred is worth it…