Apologetics, Biblical Doctrines, Christian Living, Church, Culture & Society

The Fire that is Within: Hatred in the Heart

“But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another” (Gal. 5:15).

It is often the case that a person who hates someone, a spouse, a business partner, a media figure, a family member, or a known acquaintance, is often hated by someone themselves. The irony is that those who hate, and rail against another person, will view themselves as a good, decent, and honorable human, and unworthy of being the object of anger and hostility from anyone. What people condemn in others, they condone in themselves.

The object of a person’s hatred cannot be a flawed individual. They are not allowed to change.  They are not allowed to mature. They must be totally dismissed, denounced, and disrespected.

When a mindset of hatred is acted upon in society, historical statues are torn down, opposing speech is silenced, and the vilest language is justified. Incitement to physical violence follows the rhetoric. The result is predictable. Hatred in the heart produces a reciprocal hatred to the point that individuals literally bite and devour one another. Every day, there are internet and television stories with visible illustrations, of people who hate one another. They literally hit, bite, and devour each other, all the while destroying the physical infrastructures of society. That is what the mindless madness of hatred does. Reason is abandoned to an outburst of blind verbal and physical fury.

When a mindset of hatred is acted upon in religion, the same dark actions are manifested. One religion literally stones, kills, and cuts off the heads of those who leave their faith. Holy wars are waged against infidels. The slaughter of women and children is justified in the name of a particular deity. Another religion will hold a funeral for a person who leaves their faith. The apostate is looked upon as dead, and damned. They are outside the sphere of grace, mercy, or hope. Some religions practice shunning.

The gospel of Jesus Christ cries out to those who give themselves over to rage when they manifest the hatred in their heart.

The Christian gospel pleads with individuals to remember that “God extended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). When this truth is remembered by the person with hatred in their heart, the Holy Spirit will come and allow verbal and social grace, and kindness to be extended to others with an opposing point of view.

There is something else to remember, or at least consider as a noble thought. “There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behooves any of us to find fault with the rest of us” (James Truslow Adams). The main idea is not to find so much fault with someone, that the good they do is totally dismissed. The heart must be guarded, hatred must be arrested, that we not consumed one of another.

Many centuries ago the question was asked by a Jewish prophet, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). The honest answer is, “No.” Two people cannot walk together unless they agree to be civil, and respectful of one another. Therefore, my brethren, “be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God. 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:19-21).

Do not fail to notice that the apostle James wants individuals to receive the Word of God, which is able to save the soul.

It is the Word of God that will save the soul, and society. For that to happen, the God of the Word must be embraced through His Son, Jesus Christ.

It is a very presumptuous practice of some to appeal to the virtues of the Christian faith who do not personally believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and that He died for sinners, was buried, and rose again the third day. It is with breathtaking audacity that non-Christians pretend to care what Jesus would do in a given situation, when they have contempt and hatred in their heart for the Lord, and His people. These individuals have no right to invoke the name of Jesus, or presume to speak on His behalf. The natural person has no spiritual frame of reference to draw from, and can only think in natural terms, and with a reasoning that is corrupt. So, they end up with a distorted gospel, and a Jesus of their own imagination, presuming they, not the Church, knows what Jesus would do.

Let a person fully understand, and embrace the principles and precepts of the Word of God, and then they will know something of the love of God which can replace all the hatred in a heart.

“I was sinking deep in sin,
Far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within,
Sinking to rise no more;

But the Master of the sea
Heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me,
Now safe am I.

Love lifted me!
Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.

Love lifted me!
Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.”

James Rowe

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