Sanctification

Throwback Thursday ~ Jesus Wants You to Be a Hater

Originally published February 26, 2015

hater

Hater. It’s a word that gets tossed around a lot these days. If you disagree with someone, you’re a hater. If you believe the Bible when it says something is a sin, you’re a hater. If you vote pro-life or pro-marriage, you’re a hater. Gone are the days when a Christian could stand on her convictions without being accused of hating everyone else who does not hold those same convictions.

In fact, when you first read the title of this article, I’m betting that’s what you thought I was saying Jesus wants us to do: hate everyone who doesn’t agree with us.

And I hate that.

I hate the fact that Satan has sold the world – and even the church – the lie that those of us who love Christ with all our hearts hate the sinners He died for.

Did you know that the Bible actually tells us to hate certain things? Not people who disagree with us or people enslaved by sin- that’s the world’s definition of being a hater. Luke 6:27-28 tells us:

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.

We are not to hate, but to love, do good to, bless, and pray for those who, because they are at enmity with Christ, are at enmity with us.

But as Christians, the Bible tells us there are certain things it is good and holy for us to hate. If we don’t hate them, we’re being disobedient to our Lord.

We are to hate evil:

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. Proverbs 8:13

We hate evil, pride, arrogance, and perverted speech because God is good and holy. Evil stands in rebellion against God’s person and in opposition to God’s purposes. Pride and arrogance exalt self over God, who alone is to have preeminence in all things. Dishonest, wicked speech can damage God’s beloved children and lead them away from Him.

We are to hate opposition to God’s word:

Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way. Psalm 119:128

When we love the Lord and His ways, we will necessarily come to hate false ways and false doctrine which defy His word and lead us, and others, away from Him.

We are to hate our own sin:

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Romans 7:14-15

While it is good to hate evil in the world, we must also hate the evil that lurks within us in the form of sin. Those who have been born again loathe their sin and continually and sorrowfully turn from it, flinging themselves upon the mercy of Christ for forgiveness.

We are to “hate” all things in comparison to our love for Christ:

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26

Our devotion to Christ must run so deep that we are gladly willing to sacrifice any relationship -even with our closest family members- any worldly goods, even our lives, if required to by our Lord in His word. Our love for Him should so far surpass our affections for all others that any other love relationship seems like hate in comparison.

There is a time to love, and a time to hate. When we love Christ, we will hate what is evil and cling to what is good. The hatred of the things the Lord calls us to hate is evidence that we love Him and are having our hearts and minds conformed to His.

If you’re a Christian, by God’s definition, you’re a hater. And that’s not a bad thing.


THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT SATISFACTION THROUGH CHRIST.
Forgiveness

You Can’t Love Jesus with a Heart Full of Hate: 7 Reasons to Love and Forgive Your Enemies

Human beings are capable of egregious depravity toward one another. The atrocities of war. Horrifying crimes. The cruelty of torture and persecution. All in an attempt to fill a wicked heart’s insatiable lust for evil, power, money, or the approval of a god.

And no one knew more about that than Jesus.

Jesus was born into a tumultuous and oppressive world. Long gone were the golden days of David and Solomon when Israel was a self-governing nation at the peak of power and opulence. In Jesus’ time, subjugation and sorrow were the order of the day as God’s people writhed under the iron boot of the Roman Empire.

Even from Jesus’ birth narrative, we catch a glimpse of the terrorism running roughshod over his homeland. The first event Matthew relates to us about Jesus’ life is what is often called “the massacre of the innocents.”

Herod the Great, in a yet another paranoid frenzy to protect his throne, had his soldiers march through the streets of Bethlehem and the surrounding area and slaughter every baby boy under the age of three. Infants, ripped from their mothers’ arms, only to have their skulls savagely crushed. Toddlers at play, run through with the sword.

Luke tells us that Jesus’ relatives resided in Bethlehem, so it’s probable that this heinous event directly impacted His family. Perhaps He lost a cousin he would have played with as a child, or a nephew He might have apprenticed alongside in Joseph’s workshop.

Jesus was also no stranger to crucifixion. It was a common occurrence in His day, and victims of crucifixion were made a public spectacle to serve as a warning to any that dared disturb the tenuous peace of Pax Romana. It is likely He witnessed crucifixions on occasion and might even have been acquainted with someone who was crucified.

We know Jesus was well acquainted with one casualty of brutality. Jesus’ beloved cousin John – who had baptized Him, about whom Jesus declared there was no one greater – was imprisoned by Herod Antipas to appease his ill-gotten wife, and subsequently executed, his head on a platter a present for a dancing girl.

All this misery at the hands of the Romans is to say nothing of the of the scorn, rejection, and persecution Jesus experienced from His own people. “A prophet is not without honor,” He said, “except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.”

And in the end, Jesus was personally subjected to unparalleled agony from an alliance between those in His household of Israel and His Roman enemies. Betrayed by a close friend. Slandered, falsely accused, and convicted by Jewish leaders. Flayed, mocked, and spat upon by soldiers. Scorned and reviled by the crowds. Coronated with a crown of thorns and nailed to a cross by the decree of Pilate.

Jesus lived a life despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

If anyone had cause to hate someone who had hurt Him or those He loved – an individual, a people group, a religion’s adherents, a nationality, a race – it was Jesus.

And yet time and again Jesus’ example and mandate to those who would follow Him was not to hate, take revenge, or curse the enemy, but to love and forgive.

It is spiritually dishonest to claim to be a follower of Christ while nourishing and cherishing hatred in your heart against an enemy. Here are just a few of the reasons God gives us in His Word:

1. 
You can’t love Jesus with a heart full of rebellion

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:43-45a

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you…But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
Luke 6:27,35-36

Christ instructs us love our enemies. This isn’t an option or a suggestion. It is a direct order from our Commander in Chief. Who has the right to say he is a loyal soldier of the King while knowingly standing in rebellion against His command?


2.
You can’t love Jesus with a heart that hates His creation 

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God
he created him; male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:27

Your enemy was created in the image of God, and intimately and intricately formed by His hands in the womb – just like you were. To hate another image bearer is to hate what God lovingly created, blessed, and said is good.


3.
You can’t love Jesus with a heart
that denies the sin He saved you from

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11

The dirt you were saved out of wasn’t any cleaner than the dirt your enemy currently wallows in. You used to be just like him. And it was only the grace and mercy of God that snatched you up out of that dirt, washed you off, and saved you. You don’t have any bragging rights. You’re not any better than he is. You’re just a sinner God rescued.


4.
You can’t love Jesus with a heart full of unforgiveness

…and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 6:12,14-15

‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.
So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you,
if you do not forgive your brother from your heart
.”
Matthew 18:32b-35

Your enemy – that person you hate and refuse to forgive because he hurt you – has sinned infinitely more against a holy and righteous God than he could ever sin against you. And yet God is still willing to forgive him. Who do you think you are to deny him your forgiveness if your Master is willing to forgive him? Are you above God?


5.
You can’t love Jesus with a heart full of rotten fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

The things in this list characterize the person who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, a.k.a., a Christian. Hatred isn’t on the list. The heart that is full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control leaves no room for hatred, and indeed is antithetical to hatred.


6.
You can’t love Jesus with a heart full of lies and murder

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness…But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

If 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 2:9,11; 3:15; 4:20

Hatred is so out of place in the heart of a Christian that God says you’re still lost if hatred characterizes your life. Hating shows the world a picture of an unsaved person, not a saved person. It is not a truthful testimony that you are a new creation in Christ.


7.
You can’t love Jesus with a heart
that won’t follow His example

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Luke 23:34

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that
while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8

Jesus didn’t just tell us to love, forgive, and extend mercy to our enemies. He practiced what He preached. In the middle of His agony and suffering, He forgave. Jesus gave every drop of His blood, every beat of His heart, and absorbed every ounce of God’s wrath for people who hated Him. His enemies. People He had every human and divine right to annihilate for what they had done to him. Including you and me. If we aren’t willing to follow His example and lay down our lives that our enemies might be saved, we have no part in Christ.


There are some things Jesus never said about loving and forgiving your enemies.

He never said it would be easy.

He never said you could do it in your own strength.

He never said you’d have to do it alone.

Forgiving someone who has wounded and scarred you in unimaginable ways might be the hardest thing you ever attempt in this lifetime. Do it anyway.

Yes, you can.

You can do it with the strength of the One who endured the cross to forgive you.

You can do it with the peace He purchased for you with His blood.

You can do it through the love with which He first loved you.

You can do it as the God of all comfort wraps His everlasting arms around you.

You can do it as Christ’s nail-scarred hands draw you close to His riven side and carry you from the bondage of hatred to the freedom of forgiving.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:31-32

Because you can’t love Jesus with a heart full of hate.

Sanctification, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ Jesus Wants You to Be a Hater

Originally published February 26, 2015

hater

Hater. It’s a word that gets tossed around a lot these days. If you disagree with someone, you’re a hater. If you believe the Bible when it says something is a sin, you’re a hater. If you vote pro-life or pro-marriage, you’re a hater. Gone are the days when a Christian could stand on her convictions without being accused of hating everyone else who does not hold those same convictions.

In fact, when you first read the title of this article, I’m betting that’s what you thought I was saying Jesus wants us to do: hate everyone who doesn’t agree with us.

And I hate that.

I hate the fact that Satan has sold the world the lie that those of us who love Christ with all our hearts hate the sinners He died for.

Did you know that the Bible actually tells us to hate certain things? Not people who disagree with us or people enslaved by sin- that’s the world’s definition of being a hater. Luke 6:27-28 tells us:

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.

We are not to hate, but to love, do good to, bless, and pray for those who, because they are at enmity with Christ, are at enmity with us.

But as Christians, the Bible tells us there are certain things it is good and holy for us to hate. If we don’t hate them, we’re being disobedient to our Lord.

We are to hate evil:

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. Proverbs 8:13

We hate evil, pride, arrogance, and perverted speech because God is good and holy. Evil stands in rebellion against God’s person and in opposition to God’s purposes. Pride and arrogance exalt self over God, who alone is to have preeminence in all things. Dishonest, wicked speech can damage God’s beloved children and lead them away from Him.

We are to hate opposition to God’s word:

Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way. Psalm 119:128

When we love the Lord and His ways, we will necessarily come to hate false ways and false doctrine which defy His word and lead us, and others, away from Him.

We are to hate our own sin:

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Romans 7:14-15

While it is good to hate evil in the world, we must also hate the evil that lurks within us in the form of sin. Those who have been born again loathe their sin and continually and sorrowfully turn from it, flinging themselves upon the mercy of Christ for forgiveness.

We are to “hate” all things in comparison to our love for Christ:

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26

Our devotion to Christ must run so deep that we are gladly willing to sacrifice any relationship -even with our closest family members- any worldly goods, even our lives, if required to by our Lord in His word. Our love for Him should so far surpass our affections for all others that any other love relationship seems like hate in comparison.

There is a time to love, and a time to hate. When we love Christ, we will hate what is evil and cling to what is good. The hatred of the things the Lord calls us to hate is evidence that we love Him and are having our hearts and minds conformed to His.

If you’re a Christian, by God’s definition, you’re a hater. And that’s not a bad thing.


THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT SATISFACTION THROUGH CHRIST.