One of the most destructive attitudes—if not the most destructive—for a Christian to display is hate. Think about it. How well can the saving light of Jesus Christ shine in a life that is totally shrouded in loathing, rage, and malice? And what picture of Christ does this type of person show to the unbelieving world?
Hate is a total breakdown in the Christlike attitude we are called to exhibit. Yet even in churches, it’s not hard to find individuals just brimming over with hostility. Where does it come from? One of the key reasons believers are so prone to hatred is an inability to forgive those who caused them hurt—especially when such treatment is undeserved.
Let’s take a “hate test.” Think about someone who hurt you in the past, and consider these “heart checks”:
- IF YOU HATE SOMEONE, YOU CANNOT SHAKE THE MEMORY. Does the scene play out in your mind over and over?
- IF YOU HATE SOMEONE, YOU CANNOT WISH HIM OR HER WELL. Do you genuinely wish the best for a person who has hurt you?
- IF YOU HATE SOMEONE, YOU WANT THAT PERSON TO HURT JUST AS YOU HURT Do you secretly desire this individual to experience the same pain that was thrust upon you?
If these questions have revealed any hidden animosity in your heart, don’t leave your chair until you prayerfully meditate on Ephesians 4:31-32. First, read the passage aloud. Then, personalize it into a prayer, and let God’s Holy Spirit cleanse your heart of hatred by empowering you to forgive an old hurt.
Bible in One Year: Ezra 5-7