Hate is like acid. It can damage the vessel in which it is stored as well as destroy the object on which it is poured.
Ann Landers, Bits & Pieces, September 17, 1992, p. 3.
“ If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Could it be that much of the hatred we see in our world today is related to religious persecution? In recent news stories there has been an escalation of hatred against a number of religious groups. Much of this hatred is not directed against just one particular religious group, but against religion in general. Whether, Christian, Jewish, Muslim or any other group, hatred is on the rise.
Of the 6,222 hate crimes reported to the FBI in 2011, 19.8% were the result do religious persecution and bias. In 2012 that percentage had risen to over 30% by the middle of the year and continued to rise into 2013. Many believe that the internet has been part of the reason for the marked increase in religious hate crimes. It is easy for someone to us the internet to cyber-bully someone else. To some this might seem to be part of ones freedom of speech. Yet, the damage can be devastating to someone's reputation, and in some instances have even resulted in suicide.
Jesus reminds us that we are not of this world any longer! We are the redeemed, forgiven and cleansed from all that our former life represented. If there is anything that we should hate, it is the sin that can so easily find it's way back into our life. It is sinful behavior that is the motivating power behind so much of the hatred that we sin in the world. We are called to be "...salt and light" in a world that can only be preserved through the loving, forgiving and gracious forgiveness of Christ. The light that shines in the life of the redeemed should always expose hatred, in ones life or in the life of others.
We can never forget what the Bible teaches about hatred:
1 John 4:20 ESV / 330 helpful votesIf anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
1 John 3:15 ESV / 244 helpful votesEveryone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
Proverbs 10:12 ESV / 227 helpful votesHatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.
Proverbs 6:16-19 ESV / 157 helpful votesThere are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.
For the Christian, we must heed the words of the Apostle Paul as he exhorts the Ephesians.
Ephesians 4:26 ESV / 15 helpful votesBe angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,