Moving from Hate to Love
Rev. J.R. Reid
Henry’s grandfather left him 10 million dollars, and the next week a woman who hated him agreed to marry him. After three months of married life, Henry noticed that his new wife was ignoring him more and more. Whenever they went out in public, she ignored him and flirted with other men. Finally, he decided to confront her. ”Mary,” he said, I thought you married me for love? Was the only reason you married me was because my grandfather left me 10 million dollars when he died?” “Don’t be ridiculous,” she replied, “I don’t care who gave you the money!”
Sometimes hate can turn to love and love to hate but not for the reason we think.
Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount says, Love your enemies. This message is the fundamental law of God and the basis of His sending His Son for our salvation. Hence, love is to be boundless as the ocean. Jesus’ own earthly life was nothing but the perfect application of this principle. Our enemies are to be conquered by love and not hate. But how do we move from hate to love, especially when we have good reason to hate. I call this reason righteous indignation! We are told to pray for those who use us and abuse us, but how? In order to do something this hard, we must begin to see others as ourselves. In other words, we meet no one but ourselves. Whatever weaknesses we spot in others there is a little bit of that weakness in us. Now of course I am not talking about the mentally sick or people who are pathologically evil. They may have been born that way but even these people can be helped and not hated if we have the love of Christ in us. Remember John 3: 6. God gave us a way to love instead of hate by giving us Jesus who died for us all. This kind of love will return a blessing for a curse, goodwill for hating, spiritual benefits for evil treatment and persecution.
Christ on the cross prayed for his enemies; so did Stephen, the first Christian martyr who died following his speech to the ruling council of Israel. Christ died that we might learn to love ourselves and others unconditionally. When we do, we become wise in the ways of God. As such we will be hated by the world who does evil for evil, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. When we go to war with another nation we call it a “Just War” and in the name of freedom and national security, many of our constitutional rights may get violated. But as Christians we have supreme spiritual rights given by God in Christ. These high rights are that we love our enemies as we do ourselves. This is the only way to move from personal hate of others and hate in the world to the love that God is.