Don't Hate One Another (revised)
Fighting the Good Fight
Titus 3:3 (KJV)
For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
Hatred is a very strong emotion. It usually tends to motivate one to want to destroy the source of its cause, or at least create a lasting separation that removes one from the irritation. At the very least, the person experiencing the emotion of hate is not comfortable. When the focus of your hatred is aimed at another person, none of these actions are the recommended course of action. For a Christian and follower of Christ they are never acceptable… not ever. When a person receives the gospel and becomes saved they are not saved so as to be enabled to go about hating others.
Matthew 6:14-15 (KJV)
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Paul’s instruction to Titus is a reminder to us all of not only what we were like, but also what we sometimes still are… foolish, disobedient, and deceived.
Christ came and dwelled among us not because we were all that and a bag of potato chips. We were sinners when He arrived, and due to temptation and our fallen nature, we are from time to time… sinners still. It is because of Jesus that we have forgiveness instead of wrath. Although He might good reason to; God does not hate us. We, therefore, ought not to hate each other.
While it is often accepted that our feelings of hatred are caused and directed by an outside stimulus, be it a person, a group, or some other thing; hatred is also believed to be long-lasting. Because of this many psychologists consider it to be more of an attitude or disposition than a temporary emotional state. This suggests that the solution necessary to relieve the condition of hatred must be sought from within. The Spirit of Christ is indwelling, endowing us with the power needed to overcome the dark forces of the world... as well as those inside all of us.
By His Spirit
Zechariah 4:6 (KJV)
Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
When you consider all the negativity one is compelled to engage in through hatred, it’s easy to understand why it must be tamed through the Spirit of Christ. Without the assistance of the Holy Spirit, we would continue as we once did… serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy.
I ask you; in those times when you felt the tug of hatred… how did you feel, and what did you want to do?
James 1:14 (KJV)
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Inside of all of us is the residue of our sinful nature. Because of the fall we possess knowledge of both good and evil; however we don’t possess the necessary wisdom of what we should do with it. It is with good reason we are encouraged through scripture to fight the “Good Fight.” While there may be demonic forces all around us in this world; spiritual warfare is a battle fought from within. Evil desire is only put down by the desire to be Holy. God requires us to be Holy, as He Himself is Holy.
Proverbs 11:6 (KJV)
The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.
The Righteousness of God
Where does righteousness come from in the first place, and how do we get it?
2 Timothy 2:22 (KJV)
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Faith, charity, and peace seem very different from the actions involved in hatred. That's because they are different. In addition they are just as strong, probably stronger. When we follow after them we allow their strength to overtake the dark powers of hatred. Over time, with much patience and practice, skill is developed. Its this ability that's needed to purge the darkness of our hearts. The measure of our faith is increased by the seriousness of our practice. Why do you think this verse asks us to first call on the name of the Lord; and then to do so out of a pure heart?
2 Peter 1:4 (KJV)
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
We must be prepared to undergo the process that will allow us to partake of the "Divine Nature." Are we trusting in the great promises, do we make use of the means of escape so as not to be caught by the corruption in our desire to be self satisfied? Lust has to be seen for what it is... a show stopper.
Before any thoughts of hatred can be entered into one must first make a few decisions...
There is the decision on what influences lead our thoughts.
2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Then there is the decision of whom, or what doesn’t meet our standards.
2 Corinthians 6:17 (NIV)
Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
Finally there is the decision to exercise hatred itself.
Ezekiel 35:11 (NIV)
therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I will treat you in accordance with the anger and jealousy you showed in your hatred of them and I will make myself known among them when I judge you
God has given us a wonderful gift. When understood and used correctly, it gives invincible power that cannot be turned. That wonderful gift, the power given all of us is simply to make use of our freedom of choice. With a little effort we might even choose to follow this passage of advice…
Philippians 4:8 (KJV)
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.