Monday, May 30, 2016

Hate and Love Can't Coexist

I went to church for several years with a person with whom I struggled to love. Why? This person had a problem with me! Regardless of how hard I tried, it just didn't work. I took seriously what scripture says about reconciliation and tried and tried to make things right. I took the attitude that I must have done something wrong and tried to make it right. The person never indicated that I had ever did wrong, but exhibited these characteristics:
  • Aloofness.
  • Avoidance.
  • Apathy with what I said.
  • Ridicule behind my back.
  • Overt criticism to my face.
  • Crankiness.
  • Mean-spiritedness.
  • Unforgiving for whatever it was I did.
You get the idea! The M.O. of this friend was the M.O. of an enemy! This person claimed to be born-again and was active in the church. However, it was obvious that the "old person" still ruled and "the flesh" was still the idol of the person. With that said, how I was treated, and probably many others, was not Christian love! What was it then? Is there some other emotion between love and hate that scripture allows?

Please find it for me if it's there! It's hard sometimes to love even a friend, I admit, but ;look what we are commanded to do:
Matthew 5:43 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you..."
Where is the "neutral" feeling we are alleged to be allowed to have? It's not there. We are commanded to love our friends and our enemies! You say "But that person did me wrong; he doesn't deserve my love!" Surely you are right. None of us DESERVE love because we all are inherently evil, albeit some are forgiven. I have been persecuted by that person. See the list of behaviors above. Those are not characteristics of a loving person. However, I am commanded to love that person hard as it may be. The Lord helps make my heart right because I desire to obey his commands!

Surely the person who is at odds with me has a comparable list; things I did which were wrong in their eyes. Regardless of how much wrong I have done to the other person, that person has a responsibility as a Christian to love me. How do I love them and how are they to love me? It's called reconciliation!

Reconciliation is the final result of coming back to the original state of friendship. If one wasn't a friend at the start, then there is another process. It's called "becoming a friend"!

There was another person at work who exhibited these hateful acts toward me. Her mother soon died a sudden death at a young age. I felt badly for her and sent her a sympathy card. It turned out that I was the only person at work who did so. She not only became my friend, but was a strong ally! God did that because he humbled me. He can do that for anyone who despises animosity and covets harmony! Before the Holy Ghost will comfort us as a group of people is if we have accord in our lives. The Holy Ghost stays away from discord.

That brings me to the original person of which I speak. That person would not reconcile. Even in church I was faced with animosity. The Holy Ghost wasn't there to comfort me and my joy went. I came to church, but actually had more joy when communing with God at home. Because the discord continued with that one person, I changed churches. I still have a hole in my spirit because of this one person, but at least I can commune with God again because I took the discord out of my life. The person who failed to reconcile can't possibly be a happy person. Indeed the person is still grumpy others tell me. "Grumpy" is not a state of a true Christian. That's the old person. The new person is supposed to be loving and amicable!

Reconciliation is not easy. To reconcile one has to relinquish the pride to God.
James 4:6 "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."
One must ask, "What pride keeps another from reconciliation?" It may be that the person lied or exaggerated. It may be that this person is less holy than what appears. It may be a strategy to avoid estrangement from friends or families. It may because the person is a hypocrite. There may be many reasons, but they all boil to one thing: the person values the appearance of the self over truth and love! In other words, the heart is not right with God!

How can pride be defeated? By sacrificing the self to God.
Romans 12:1 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
 The one who hates is to take that hate and give it to God! It is with contrition that the person submits that pride to God and say "I have a hateful heart God; take it from me!" Try that! You'll be a new person if that unloving person is you!

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