Hate is a Heart Thing

2893106 - illustration of heart, crown of thorns and sword

 Our society seems obsessed with hate and tries to legislate it away, with laws against hate speech, hate crimes, you name it. This tactic only fills up prisons and cemeteries, because it fails to address the root of the problem. Hate is a heart thing and the only One who can heal a hate-filled heart is the One who created that heart in the first place. God created each heart, intending that it be filled with His pure goodness; but in this messy world we have a tendency to fill it with whatever “seems right in our own eyes,” and that’s rarely goodness and right thinking.

People use a lot of excuses to justify hate: racial inequity, denial of rights, ethnic and nationalistic history of injustice, sexual, physical, verbal or emotional abuse, offensive words, unjust loss of property, position or reputation, even religious doctrine can become a justification for the hatred that creeps into or floods our hearts. But no human justification for hate will ever be validated by the One True God – for the simple reason that God sacrificed His Son and allowed His Blood to be spilled for each one of us – and He did it while we were pretty rotten individuals not worthy of His supreme sacrifice.

Some (especially “religious” people) try to cover up their hate-filled hearts with distractive behavior and deceptive appearances: like good works, false smiles, church attendance, or involvement in “causes.” But hate is such a destructive force that it cannot be covered up for very long. It will eventually show forth its serpent fangs. The Bible explains that whatever is in the heart will be displayed in our words and in our actions. It will even show forth in our eyes, which are the entrances to our soul.

Hate and Love cannot co-exist – for hate will distract from and ultimately destroy other relationships, both in the natural and spiritual realms. I see this every time I minister to a man whose marriage is struggling or whose children have abandoned him. More often than not we discover that at the core of his problem is a past hurt (be it a childhood molestation, a parental abandonment, a prior unfaithful spouse, or a physical beating by an authority figure such as a teacher or police officer) the memory of which continues to rip apart the man’s soul and every subsequent relationship.

Jesus correlated hatred with the physical act of murder and said the only cure for the hater was forgiveness of the offender. “For how can you say you love God who you do not see, when you hate your brother who you do see?” and told people to not even consider offering a gift to God until after they went to the other and reconciled with him. And it’s not just our spiritual relationship with the Almighty that suffers, but every relationship we have – until we are set free from hate.

Hate and Fear are kindred spirits. Most of the time we experience fear of a person or situation, we feel the need to either avoid or destroy the person(s) who we perceive as the source of our fear. And that’s where hate comes in. But the real source of both fear and hate is spiritual, not natural – it’s the kingdom of darkness – that simply manifests in and through a human’s bad behavior. The Word of God identifies each of these as spirits and He tells us “Your battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies.” Regarding fear, we’re specifically told, “There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear.” This principle applies to the spirit of hate as well.

And it’s not just our relationships that suffer – it’s everything good that we put our hands to. Hate destroys the hater physically, emotionally, attitudinally, and spiritually. Hate is counter-productive – it interferes with a person becoming the best we can be. It keeps us from producing something of value, from using our talents fully, and from accomplishing our goals and dreams.

Fortunately a hate-filled heart can be healed – but only by allowing God and godly people to intervene. It’s the rare individual who is being spiritually harassed by the enemy who will seek God’s help directly. More often than not, when they finally recognize that they’re in trouble and have nowhere else to turn, they will reach out to one who they perceive is a godly person or a Christian ministry or a church for help. Hopefully the one they reach out to will recognize their authority in Christ over the power of darkness, or is wise enough to redirect them to another who does. My local church in Sterling Heights, Michigan actually prays for “the hardest cases” to find their way to us – for we know our authority and have seen many broken people set free from this heart problem we call hate.

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