When was the last time you expressed feelings of hatred? Look – let’s admit here and now that we’re all guilty of allowing hatred to enter our hearts, despite our best efforts to seek the good in people and situations, as the Bible tells us to do. Hatred is an emotion just like every other feeling that comes over us, and sometimes, we can find ourselves feeling so much hate that it overcomes us and clouds our judgment.
In today’s world, hatred is an epidemic. Now more than ever, we are constantly confronted with viewpoints that are the opposite of our own, thanks to increased media consumption, divisive politics and social media, which allows us to spend hours reading other people’s unfiltered thoughts that can be inflammatory, to say the least. This means that it’s easier than it ever has been to dwell on hate, if we so choose, because it’s in our faces at all hours of the day.
But, as Christians, we know deep down that to hate is to sin. And so, we must find ways to choose hate’s opposite, which is love. Now, how can we do that?
Why We Hate
Ultimately, hatred is an expression of fear. Anything that conflicts with our personal viewpoint can make us fearful because it threatens our beliefs, our values, our livelihoods and our feelings of security. For instance, we live in a time in which our country is more divided than ever. We see that our two political parties express more hatred toward each other than ever before. Why? Because if one party gets their way, it makes us feel that the things that we value, including our general way of life, can be taken away from us. This creates anxiety, and so we hate the “other side” that would threaten the things that we hold dear.
Because hatred comes from fear, to hate is to express weakness. It means that we believe that all of the things that God has given us can be taken away at any given moment by that which we hate. It means that we do not trust that God is sustaining us, because if we did, we would not feel the need to attack, as we would see no threat.
Perhaps, then, the sin of hatred is truly the sin of lacking faith. The Bible talks a lot about hatred as well as faith, but few people put these two factors together.
Of course, there’s another factor as well.
To hate another person is to hate a child of God. When we hate someone, we do not see the image of God in which they were created. If we did, we would not hate. God tells us time and time again that every single person is a brother derived from the same creator, and so we must treat them in a way that honors our Father.
What the Bible Says About Hate
In Luke 6:27-28, we read, “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you.” This is no obscure bible passage. In fact, it’s one of the most commonly quoted ones of all. And yet, how many of us actually follow it? How much easier is it to crave revenge than it is to pray for those who we believe have crossed us?
The Bible tells us to resist this temptation with all of our heart. Loving our enemy is seeing God’s image in them and recognizing that the person who has tried to harm us has failed, because God has protected us against harm. When we trust that God has a plan for our lives, we recognize that no one can truly hurt us, because a child of God has a shield against any type of worldly pain. Believing this wholeheartedly is easier said than done, but if we at least attempt to repeat this passage to ourselves in moments of hatred, we can begin to approach conflict differently, and God will reward us for doing so.
Turning Hate into Love: How God Can Provide us with a Change of Heart
So, besides reflecting on Biblical passages about hate, how can we undo feelings of hatred? Ultimately, we must learn to turn that hate into love, with God’s help. The only feeling that truly aligns our thoughts with those of God’s is love. We accomplish this by constant prayer, where we ask God to transform our feelings so that we may eradicate hate from our hearts.
Hatred Truly is a Sin
But luckily, God has made it possible to undo hatred and feel the purest love for that which instills fear and judgment in us. The Bible makes it clear that hatred is unnatural, and therefore we must strive to overcome it. We need to simply turn to God when we feel hate in our hearts, and he will lead us toward love.