My heart broke as I watched the news clip about what had happened in Charlottesville. So many questions were running through my mind. “How could people be so hateful?” “How could they be so deceived?”
As I stood in the kitchen pondering the motives of man, once again, God shined the searchlight of His love into my heart, and He began to ask me questions. Have you ever thought that you were better than someone else? Have you ever devalued another person, even the unborn? Have you ever hated?
Unfortunately, the answer to all three questions was “Yes.”
We cannot hate if we learn to separate. I, like many others, learned to hate at an early age. Instead of just hating someone’s actions, I judged the person as being the embodiment of evil. Hating them, gave me a false sense of power and protection. I now realize that my decision to hate only hurt me. It was part of the enemy’s plan to destroy me. (I John 4:20).
You and I need to love what God loves and hate what God hates. It is important to hate evil (Hebrews 1:9). I never liked being abused in my marriage, but I was determined to persevere in the midst of difficulties. I could not get free from the cycle of abuse until I hated abuse. God hates what hurts His children. God hates pride, abuse, prejudice, greed, lying, sexual immorality, and anything else that causes pain to us and to the people around us. But He dearly loves us! He loves us so much that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8).
We cannot hate unless we have first judged. When you and I judge someone else, we see them in the image of man instead of seeing them in the image of God. In the courtroom of our soul we become both the judge and the jury. Whether we are reacting out of fear, pain, or false belief systems, we justify our decisions and make agreement with the lies of the enemy. “Your sins are too much!” “You were created wrong,” “You have little or no value”. Seeing someone as less makes us appear as more—more righteous, more powerful, or more successful, and blinds us to the true condition of our souls.
Someone who judges is unaware that they are judging themselves. “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you (Luke 7:1-2). When I used to look through the eyes of judgment, I assumed others were looking at me the same way. For instance I used to judge people who got divorced, until I was going through my divorce. I thought they had not prayed enough or tried hard enough, until I was picking up the pieces of a shattered life after fifteen years of praying and trying. In the same way, I believe that people who hate, often believe that others hate them, even when they don’t.
Judgment and Hatred brings death. I would like to say that I don’t understand the mentality of someone who wishes another to die. But I would be lying. There was a time in my life when I prayed for my abusers to die. I now realize that my prayers were foolish. Deception, bitterness, and hatred will turn us into fools and kill our peace and joy. Loving God and walking in His ways, gives us His heart for others; being foolish causes us to trust our own hearts-hearts that are often wounded and full of ungodly beliefs. Whether these beliefs have been passed down generationally or learned in the classrooms of our lives, they produce death instead of life.
You might be reading this and saying, “I have never hated anyone” That’s wonderful! But if you, like I used to, have ever struggled with hating someone, I would encourage you to pray the following prayer with me:
Lord, thank you that you want me to be free. I confess that I have hated________. Forgive me for not seeing others as you see them. I realize that I can hate evil actions, but love people-no matter what they have done to me or to others. Forgive me for judging. I am not aware of other people’s wounds or the lies they believe. Show me how to have mercy as I fight for justice. Release me from the lies that I believe about you and your love for me and for others. Show me your heart and give me a heart for others, especially for the people I have viewed as being my enemies. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for my sins. I acknowledge that my sins are no greater or lesser than those of anyone else. All sins carry the same cost-Jesus’ sacrifice. But I am also aware that some sins bear more earthly consequences and bring more pain than others. Give me wisdom about how to handle sinful consequences in truth and love. You are a good and merciful Father. Help me to forgive those who have hurt me, as you have forgiven me. I give you my heart. Cleanse me and heal me from all bitterness and hatred and fill me with your perfect love—love that empowers me to walk in truth, heals my heart, and renews my mind. In Jesus’ name-Amen!
May you be abundantly blessed!
“So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself’” Luke 10:27 NKJV).
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