Devotion: 2015-05-19

Conquering Hate with Love

John 17:14-17

Hate is a strong word.  Every marriage counselor is trained to help couples avoid it altogether.  If you “hate” your husband or wife, your marriage is over.  Better to say that you “don’t like” some behavior, even, than to say you “hate” it.  Hate implies a rage that cannot be quenched, a desire to see someone disappear, maybe even to suffer.  We can deal with someone’s anger, but someone’s hate?  How do you put hate out?

Jesus gave his Father’s Word to his disciples.  The same life-giving Word that spoke and brought the universe into existence crossed Jesus’ lips and gave life to his followers (Genesis 1:3, John 6:63).  And on account of that very same life-giving Word does the world hate Christians.  Not dislike us, or act annoyed with us, but hate us.  The world hates us because we hold God’s Word to be sacred.  It hates that Word because it proclaims that we are all sinners who fallen far, far short of God’s will for us. The world listens to the deception of the Devil and tosses the Scriptures aside as a quaint fairy tale, better off on the dust heap of history than read lovingly by devoted followers.

How can you conquer that sort of hatred?  The same way Jesus did, by proclaiming not only judgment but the full, complete, forgiveness of sins in Christ’s blood.  As Jesus was being unjustly crucified, he spoke forgiveness (Luke 23:34).  After his resurrection, when he confronted the people who deserted him, his first words were “peace to you”  (John 20:19).  So we are forewarned by Jesus – the world will hate us.  And in return, we will proclaim Christ’s dying love for his fallen world.

Blessed Father, help us to love even our enemies just as Christ has loved us.  Amen.