I have a problem with hatred. I have gained the victory over anger, for the most part, but I have a real problem with hatred. Is there any help for me at my old age?
Hatred and anger are very closely related to each other. Usually the same circumstance will give rise to both of these emotions. We can define them differently by using the word anger or hatred, but they really arise from the same center of our being. Anger and hatred arise because of what someone does or says—either what we do to ourselves or what someone does or says to us or about us. Both of these can be overcome completely through the grace and power of God.
What we need to work on, by faith, is our perspective of what is happening. While we are to hate sin, we are to love the sinner, so we must change our perspective from the sinner to the sin. If the sinner makes us angry and we hate him, we are not working within the will of God. Leviticus 19:17 tells us that, “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart.” There is an opposite side to this, and that is hating evil. We can hate evil because we love the Lord. “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” Psalm 97:10.
The interesting thing about all of this is that we are never commanded to hate the devil! We are to hate the evil and the sin, but not bring it into a personalized form. That places us in a position where we begin to judge a person’s motives and heart. “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” Romans 2:1.
So, if we can come to understand things this far, then the next step in getting over hatred is to understand 11 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” This is a transition that comes through faith. The New Testament makes it very clear that the burden of our life now becomes one of faith overshadowed by the grace of God that then moves us into an ever-changing pattern of living. This can only come through faith. It cannot come through any effort of our own in trying to overcome either anger or hatred. The more we exercise faith—which comes by hearing the Word—the more we become changed.
I know that this all seems like a lot of platitudes that sound good, but that do not really work. This is really not the case. If faith, which can bring change in the life, did not work, then the Christian way would have died out a long time ago. But because faith does work and it has been experienced by hundreds of millions over the centuries, Christianity survives today. The forces of evil try in every way possible to make of non-effect the Word of God, but it lives on. It is the continuous exercise of faith that counts and gives the victory. God has not left us to fall. He has promised to keep us from falling, which includes hatred of any kind and anger of any kind. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy . . . .” Jude 24. Faith is that element which is able to make the spirit of forgiveness a workable commodity in the life. Forgiveness can take the anger and the hatred away and still leave life with meaning in the Lord, which is the only thing that makes life meaningful anyway.
Pastor Mike Baugher is a retired minister of the gospel. If you have a question you would like Pastor Mike to answer, e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail it to: LandMarks, Steps to Life, P. O. Box 782828, Wichita, KS 67278.