The Sustaining Lightness

John 17:14 (ESV)
[Father] I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

Have you ever been hated? If you have to think about it, it is unlikely you’ve been hated. The experience should have been unforgettable. ISBE[1] defines hate as, “A feeling of strong antagonism and dislike, generally malevolent (evil) and prompting to injury (the opposite of love).” You wouldn’t forget that experience. Some Christians may rationalize their hatred by ancient Scripture, but that is a risky path to take. Much study is required to understand the context of Old Testament “hate.” We Christians have been taught by Jesus, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”[2]  I take you here because it is so hard to resist hatred without hatred. It seems to be an “eye for an eye” thing … treating someone like they’ve treated you. However, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” If you’ve ever been hated, then you may know it is a consuming darkness. Therefore, as Jesus taught, pray for the hater, but don’t go there. Jesus urges the sustaining lightness of love.

“Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.” Will Smith, American Actor

[1] International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, The Howard-Severance Company, © 1915

[2] Matthew 5:43-44 (ESV)

About Pastor Steve

Pastor Steve Hodges is an ordained minister, pastoring a church in central Virginia.
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