At some point in our lives each of us has been betrayed, criticized, bullied, or hurt in some way by others. In the 1970s there was a popular song by The Persuaders titled, “Thin Line Between Love and Hate.” Given the right circumstances, it’s easy to cross that line. Christians tend to sugar-coat how they feel towards people they actually hate. Deliverance from the burden of hate demands confessing your true feelings to God. God already knows what’s in your heart. He’s waiting for you to confess how you really feel. You can’t be delivered from what you deny. When wronged, it can feel empowering to hate those who offended you. While we may not admit our hatred for a person, our thoughts and reactions belie what we say.
Hate is never justified. It breeds anger, envy, jealousy, bitterness, and resentment. You’ll never love God any more than anyone you hate. I John 4:20 says, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” God’s command to love others in Matthew 22:37-39 isn’t dependent on the offender’s apology or repentance. Love is an act of the will. God chose to love us in spite of our sins. We too must choose to love others who wounded us.
The account of Joseph’s life in the Book of Genesis demonstrates the transformative power of love. Joseph had ample reason to hate his brothers for their betrayal. When presented with an opportunity to retaliate against his brothers, Joseph’s words and actions showed evidence of a transformed heart. He said, “Fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly to them” (Genesis 50:20-21).
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be ye kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (NIV). Love releases spiritual toxins and empowers you to serve those who wronged you. God’s love flows from a forgiving heart. As you mature in your relationship with the Lord, His love is perfected in you. Love is the first fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Operating in God’s love paves the way for the other fruits of the Spirit to flow in your life. How we regard others demonstrates if we love God.
Do you live the definition of God’s love? We’re commanded to forgive as Jesus forgives, and love as Jesus loves. God loves us beyond our mistakes and failures. We must do the same for others. Ask God to help you love those you hate in order to genuinely love Him. Jesus never said it would be easy to love those who hurt you. All things are possible with God; even the ability to love those who mistreated you.
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love doesn’t envy. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love forgives. Love isn’t self-serving. Love perseveres. Love always triumphs over hate. Love is the more excellent way!
Until next time…Be blessed!
Rev. Cynthia Jackson, Rhema Inspirations
With God, all things are possible