Why do we hate other people? Life is hard for everyone, even if we can’t see it. In the Old Testament, Joseph’s brothers hated him because of the dreams that God had given him. Perhaps Joseph did not handle these dreams with wisdom by sharing them with his father and brothers. I don’t know if he realized the meaning of the dreams. He was only seventeen, nevertheless, the dreams indicated that he was going to rule over his family. We know from the advantage of being able to look back that God was preparing Joseph for his future as a ruler in Egypt that would save his family and the entire nation of Egypt. But when God first gave him these dreams, they were just dreams. Most of us would just laugh off someone’s dream, but Joseph’s brothers hated him all the more.
Sometimes, we hate people for what God has given them. We hate them because they have had an easier life, they have more opportunities, they are prettier or have a prettier wife, a nicer husband. There are so many people all over the world who hate Americans as if we chose to be born here. It’s not like God chose a group of people over others and asked them if they wanted to be born here instead of Venezuela or Haiti. Why do we hate people for things that are not even in their control, things that God has put in them and in their life?
We do this because we totally misunderstand the appearance of blessing. We look at someone who has been given what we have been denied and we are offended or resentful because we think these things somehow make things easier for them, more blessed than we. But is life harder for us than them?
In Biblical times, the general theology was that if a person was rich, it indicated that they were blessed by God, obviously loved more and favored by God. But then Jesus came along and blew this theology out of the water. Here is what Jesus said:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Matthew 19:23-24 (NIV)
The people of Jesus’ day would look at the rich and they assumed that God loved them more because they had been born into these rich families, but Jesus said the more money you have, the harder it is to get into Heaven. This is a reminder that just because things seem better for someone else, it doesn’t mean that is true. For the rich, it is easier for them to be tempted by the god of mammon. They put their faith in their own money and ability to make money to provide for their needs and desires instead of putting their faith in God. This is a very devious scheme of the devil because they might go to church, read the Bible, and sing loud the songs of the church. It is a sin of the heart and hard to detect. What may appear to be a blessing could actually be a curse. Life is hard for everyone.
Plus, the more we are given, the more God holds us accountable with what we have been given. God does not hold a dirt poor Christian to the same standard of generosity as a filthy rich Christian. God expects them both to give sacrificially, but the poor man has less to work with than the rich man so God’s expectation of money management for the rich is greater than the poor. The same is true for wisdom or anything else that God gives. Great blessings come with great responsibility and thus, great temptation.
But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Luke 12:48 (NIV)
Now, don’t go thinking that those who have less have it any easier than those who have more. The lack of things makes us more susceptible to stress, anxiety, worry, fear, and doubt. These can challenge our faith in God as easily as those who, by all earthly standards, are extravagantly blessed. The point is that no one has it easy therefore we have no reason to be jealous, bitter, or to have hatred just because it ‘seems’ that someone else has it better than us. We are all in this boat together and we all have trouble, trials, and tribulations that make life hard.
Leave me a comment. Have you ever struggled with resentment for someone who seemed to have it easier than you?
Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!