I’ve been silent for months, just being “in my life” and enjoying being engaged and getting married and being a newlywed.
My day-to-day home life has been overall very, very positive. I have been overwhelmed with thanksgiving, peace, and love.
Then I log on to Facebook and I am bombarded by hatred.
I glimpse the news, and again, hatred.
And it’s not just one source and one hashtag, you guys.
I see threats of nuclear bombs, and active war zones. I see people being murdered because of their beliefs, or because they just happen to live somewhere that is overrun by hatred. Teenagers being bullied and told to kill themselves. For goodness sake, today I saw a news headline about an autistic child that had a board nailed to the back of his little head, by hateful bullies.
And I just can’t. I cannot.
WHAT. IS. WRONG. WITH. OUR. WORLD.
So of course I am not surprised to see racist people doing racist things, either. It is SICK. I watched a video interview of one of the leaders of one of these hate groups, and my stomach did a flip.
Then I felt it… I felt what I think a lot of people are starting to feel… I felt hatred.
My first thought was “oh God, not me, too, please” and I went into prayer. I asked God to please, please shield my heart from hating others. Yes, even when they are doing the most evil things imaginable. I asked Him to help me remember the verses in His Word about loving my enemies, the verses that are the hardest to swallow as a regular human person, but the words that, if applied, make us look and act like HIM.
I thought of what must have gone through Jesus’ mind when He was mocked and tortured, and what lengths He must have pursued in order to protect His human heart from hatred. He knew we would need to do the same, that we would be faced with unimaginable, heinous evil, and that we, too, would be tempted to join in hatred or lose hope.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. [Ephesians 6:12]
Do you want to know how to tell if you’re tempted to hate? If you feel that consuming, non-productive fire inside, that tells you that you hate a person instead of an evil ideology, you’re hating. You find yourself seething and directing your rage toward a person or group, and you find yourself persuaded to then curse them instead of doing what you know you ought to do, which is pray for the obvious need you see.
What you may also feel tempted to do is join a screaming match, or post a rant on social media, but just take a moment to think about what results your rant or your screams will actually have.
What you could do, that in my opinion would have a more productive impact, is look for ways to support and encourage those who are suffering or persecuted, in more ways than 140 character posts. I’m talking about taking a family to dinner who may be struggling. I’m talking about reaching out to refugees in your city, or hosting dinner for a group of people who are currently oppressed, whose plight breaks your heart.
After prayer, God filled me up with the desire to act in kindness toward others, which was truly the opposite of what I was feeling when I was raging on the social media feed frenzy.
If you think about it, down to the root causes, we all believe a certain way because it is what we were taught and it is what we accepted to be truth. Regardless of how evil or illogical certain beliefs are, we have wars over our disagreements. The gospel of Jesus has a simple (not so simple, though!) solution to the problem of hatred, and it starts with our own hearts getting a firm check.
Ask yourself tonight if you’re struggling with hatred. Don’t push it on anyone else, don’t give anyone else control over your heart, don’t say “they make me hate them” because that’s not how this stuff works. You own your heart, your brain, and your mouth. You own your emotions. You get to decide what triggers you, and you get to take those triggers to the Lord and get His input on every single one of them.
Jesus, why did that affect me unto fear/bitterness?
Jesus, what can I do about injustice and hatred without catching the disease of hatred?
Jesus, how can I remain loving, tender, and hope-filled in this broken and fear-filled world?
Jesus, what are You doing in this situation?
Help me see You moving, so I can pray and join You in action. Help me be part of Your kingdom solution, not just another hard heart in the crowd.