Saints and Haters
Hate, anger, and contentiousness follow human beings wherever we go. They are common to our species. But some time periods are worse than others. Lately it seems as if the devil has been pouring a kind itching powder down the backs of people’s necks. We never know when rage lurks beneath the surface of an otherwise unremarkable interaction with another person. In certain situations, wearing a mask or not wearing a mask can get your head bitten off.
Clerks in stores are often left in tears from the things their customers say. At other times, customers are the ones left in tears. Well known people of all stripes find themselves threatened, cursed, and harassed in ways that make them fear for themselves and their families. It is not unusual for children of celebrities to be threatened with murder.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 famously lists many of the attitudes that will characterize people of the last days. Here are a few items from that list — “…unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty.…”
Read an article on almost any topic and if the website allows comments, look at those comments. You will usually see examples of unloving, unforgiving, slander, and all the rest in full and ugly bloom. In Matthew 24:10, Jesus said of people in the last days, “Many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”
We live in the age of a rising tide of hatred. How should we respond?
In Psalms 69:4, King David wrote, “They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head.” You may lead a sheltered life surrounded by friendly people who love you and want nothing but the best for you. But you also know that your island is shrinking. If you are a follower of Jesus in our day, what David said of himself is true of you. They that hate you without cause outnumber the hairs on your head.
We live in an age of Christian persecution, and America is not exempt. Psalm 97:10 tells all who love the Lord to, “Hate evil.” Ecclesiastes 3:8 says there is, “A time to love and a time to hate.”
Is this the time to hate people? No! This is the time for love!
Look at the words of Jesus in Luke 6:27-28. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” That’s the Christian response to a world seething with hate.
Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “Be angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” There are good reasons to be angry. But don’t live in anger. Unending anger leads to frustration, loneliness, bitterness, and hatred. When it’s right to be angry, be angry. But don’t let that anger lead you to sin, and don’t hold on to the anger. Let it go. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath. Where you do not let go of your anger, you give Satan a foothold in your life.
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