I have to admit there is one person particularly that comes to mind that has hurt me, lied to me, stolen from me, slandered me to others and continues to demonize me. It is so hard to love this person and I have found myself confessing to God my sin of hate and disdain for them. Hate is truly not the way of the Lord, but if you have suffered under the pressure of someone who is hateful and mean, you may be under so much pressure to protect your name, possessions, and dignity that you have a difficult time loving them.
Charles Baudelaire says, “Hatred is a precious liquor, a poison more costly than that of the Borgias—for it is made with our blood, our health, our sleep, and the best part of our love!” Hatred can truly consume us. Elsie Robinson puts it this way, “But even if our rage seems fully justified, and our plans succeed beyond our blackest hope, we will never get even. For life doesn’t work that way. Instead of finding peace, renewed self-respect, and healing for our hurt, each attempt at revenge leaves us frustrated, cheated. Instead of punishing our enemies, we’ve simply played our own debasing game and sold ourselves down the river.” Hate is not the way to peace or to God’s plan for our lives.
Let all you do be done in love. 1 Cor. 16:14
Easy to say, but when faced with evil, it is hard to do. Believe me, this is something I struggle with and I have found an answer that helps me. It comes in two parts:
- Understanding the love of Christ for us can help displace that anger and hate.
- Suffering is something that Christs asks us to share. Stick with me on this and I will explain why these can be comforting and healing to the soul.
The love of Christ surpasses all of our knowledge. Charles Sturgeon puts it this way: “The love of Christ in its sweetness, its fullness, its greatness, its faithfulness passes all human comprehension. Where can we find the words to describe His matchless, His unparalleled love toward the children of men? It is so vast and boundless that, as the swallow simply skims the water without diving into its depths, so all descriptive words merely touch the surface, while immeasurable depths lie below.” Well might the poet say,
O love, thou fathomless abyss!
Going further with this thought, we must understand that Jesus came down from His throne where heavens were made, and where He was surrounded by cherubim and seraphim all praising Him. He reigned supreme above all creatures, God over all. How low He had to descend for us. As Spurgeon explains, “To bleed and die and suffer—these were much for Him who was the Son of God; but to suffer such unparalleled agony–to endure a death of shame and desertion from His Father—this is the depth of condescending love that the most inspired mind must utterly fathom. Herein is love!” His love for us surpasses all we could imagine and what makes me know that hate and anger toward others is so not right.
Secondly, He learned obedience through that suffering and we are called to the same obedience. The comforting thought in the fact that Christ’s “being made perfect” through suffering – it is that He can have complete sympathy with us during our suffering and abuse. He is not so mighty that He does not understand and sympathize with the pain we must go through with people that hurt us. Knowing that can make us strong.
Spurgeon again, “The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions. The regalia of the kings whom God has anointed are their trouble, their sorrows, and their grief. Let us not, therefore, shun being honored. Let us not turn aside from being exalted. Grief exalts us, and troubles lift us up. ‘If we endure, we will also reign with him.’”
So I can look at my battle with hate and anger and see only the Savior in His unbelievable love and His understanding and sympathy and I know that I can sustain…Thank You, Jesus
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