This week, I want to deal with the subject of hatred. I am currently teaching a series I have entitled “Hate Culture.” We are living in a culture of hate. It is not merely a culture where hatred is more intense than usual. We are living in a culture where hatred is being encouraged and justified. I know that even as most of you read this, people and organizations that you feel are spewing hatred are going to come to mind, but I would also draw your attention to the responses of other people and groups to those who may have initiated the hate to begin with. Even in the church right now, there is a justification to act in hatred toward others, even those in the church. We feel justified to use our words to denigrate and destroy forgetting the Spirit has called us to not let any word out of our mouth unless it builds up the other (Ephesians 4:29). We feel justified to vilify, judge, and condemn those whose rage is directed at us simply for disagreeing forgetting the Spirit has called us to love those who persecute us (Romans 12:14). The darkness of malevolence gives rise to a great opportunity for the church to be that proverbial city on a hill shining the light of hope and Christ to a dark world, but we can’t shine a light if we let hatred into our own heart.
Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.
Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
Genesis 37:2-4 (NIV)
Joseph’s brothers hated him because he had what they wanted, the favor of their dad. Israel’s favoritism is for another post, but don’t get bogged down and forget God holds us responsible for our response to other’s bad behavior. The brothers hated Joseph, not for what Joseph had done, but because their father loved him more than any of them. Hatred is the spirit of covetousness.
We have all heard the Ten Commandments and know that we are not to covet, but what is coveting? Coveting is jealousy for what someone else has to presses toward a desire to see them suffer and/or lose what they have. It is the idea that if we can’t have it, we don’t want them to have it either. We are jealous because we don’t think they deserve it, but we do. We get upset because someone else gets the promotion that we deserve. Filled with anger, we will despise a sibling because they were Daddy’s favorite. We get angry because we think someone got a free pass without having to answer for their actions and we don’t think this is right. This is where hatred sets in.
Christians should never believe that God’s blessings are not a sum-zero subject. Just because someone else got the promotion, can God not move the boss to give another promotion? Just because someone else has what we want, is God so small that He can’t bless us too? Of course, God’s resources are limitless. It is unBiblical to think the only way for one person or group to be blessed is by taking blessings away from someone else. That is theft which is another one of those Ten Commandments.
The world is pushing us, even in the church, toward jealousy, covetousness, and hatred. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. We may live in this world, but we are not of it. We are citizens of Heaven and there ain’t no hatred in Heaven. So let’s live as children of the light, giving grace, blessing those who persecute, praying for those who attack, reaching out to those who reject, loving those who hate. If there is any hate within you right now, release it into God’s hand. He is able to give you peace. Then we can be that city on a hill for Jesus!
I hope you have a great week. If you want to listen to the sermon, click here.
Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!