Lord, Set Us Free From Hatred
Hate. Everywhere we look today the world is changing and people are afraid. Rage, out of control emotions, and bitterness spews from social media and daily conversation. Underlying all of this seems to be feeling of hatred seeping into the words and actions of those around us. Left unchecked, this hatred pierces the soul and destroys the bonds between communities, friends, and families.
For some, hatred is an emotional response to real or perceived injustices allowed to remain uncorrected too many years. For others, hatred is learned at a young age, aimed at individuals or groups who look different, act different, speak different, think different, worship different, or are, simply, just different.
Compounding this are media outlets focused on one thing: keeping us watching. Their daily diets of killings, riots, accusations, cheating and stealing merely fan the flames of an already roaring fire, increasing our levels of discord and unease. Heightened tension becomes anger; anger turns into strife; strife erupts into violence.
The Bible teaches us that hate can be fueled by many things: judgement, buried anger or rivalry, envy, greed, jealousy, our own personal shortcomings, broken relationships, discrimination, misplaced beliefs, even a lack of our own identity. The one that Scripture is clear about is that hatred is not fueled by love (Proverbs 10:12).
Without a common grounding in spiritual bonding, listening, consideration of others’ thoughts and perspectives – that is, without a heart filled with love – it’s easy to join those already imprisoned by hatred. Like the chains of Marley’s Ghost in Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, the hate-chain grows with every ensnared heart.
There is no greater contributor to this culture of rage, to these chains of hate binding so much of our world, than the lack of a direct and binding relationship with the God of Love who heals all wounds (Psalm 147:3). The absence of this relationship causes many of us to see each other only by our differences, by the perceived inequities and inequalities between us; to measure our lives by what we lack rather than what we have.
By answering our cries for equality with outrage and hatred, a darkness covers us, a darkness that can only be removed by the light of God’s love. Without it, we remain in darkness (1 John 2:9). Without love, with the grace of God, we see ourselves through our eyes only.
Our only real answer is to be awakened to the truth of who we are in God’s eyes. Our identity in Christ offers us hope, forgiveness, salvation. It provides us stability and confidence that God’s will is always present, always working for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). The greatest thing we can do is invite someone else into this knowledge, helping them grow in a life made new as a child of God and leaving behind their self-condemnation, anger, and hate.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only Light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only Love can do that.” With love, we share faith and hope rather than hate and despair. We heal ourselves by healing the hurts in others through love and kindness made possible by our trust in God. And by doing this, we break apart the chains of hatred link by link. When we and those around us are no longer consumed by hatred, we can be uplifted by great things.
God frees us from hate through the overwhelming power of His love. Simply put, love conquers hate. The flame we should fan is the fire of an all-consuming love that soothes and heals rather than troubles and destroy; helps others rather than deters them; empowers rather than demeans; loves rather than hates.
Alone, we are vulnerable, exposed to an enemy bent on dividing us with hate. Together with the invincible power of God surrounding us, we can take our place in an unbeatable army of peace, driving out hate in very place it hides. God only asks us to bring a pure heart to the battle (Micah 6:8).
This week let peace and love reign in your heart. Let anger and hatred fade from your life. Pray and seek the peace that passes all understanding.
Blessings in Christ