by Pastor Tim Burt
Hatred and anger are real emotions that are given by God. Find someone walking in them and you might find someone with what seems like boundless energy. Those emotions energize. Unfortunately that energy will most likely manifest horrible results if it’s aimed at people or God.
Anger and hate are real emotions and they are given by God, but not to be used wrongly. God gave them to us to be used rightly. Romans 12:9 (RSV) says, “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good.” Hatred is not to be aimed at people. To the contrary, in many scriptures we are exhorted to get along, to forgive one another, and to work things out. These are mandates with which Jesus said, “But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:15 (NLT)
The Apostle Paul taught us that in general, we need to recognize that it’s not people that we are battling but wicked spiritual forces in the background that work to divide people and get them to fight and destroy each other. Ephesians 6:10-12 NKJV says, “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.”
We are to oppose evil and wickedness and work to overcome it. Romans 12:21 NKJV instructs and exhorts us, “Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” When we are in a position of seeing evil that we should oppose, the emotions of hatred or anger can fuel us to do so, but we need to exercise that energy in a godly fashion and with the legally, morally, and ethical tools that are available to us. My hatred for evil will often energize me to write a letter to company letting them know that I will no longer purchase or use their product because of their sexually immoral advertising. My hatred for evil might lead me to calling a local politician, Senator, or Congressperson about the need for a law of some kind. There are many constructive ways to oppose the evils we see in our society. People often think, what difference can one person make? Political offices will always tell you that one person constructively adding their voice is what does help produce good change. And James reminds us that because we are believers, our prayers are change agents and possibly the most powerful force in the world. James 5:16 (NIV) “… The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Again, it’s the energy that comes from hating this evil that energizes me to action.
Evil is opposed in many different ways and at many different levels. In war, evil is opposed by military with strategies and weapons of warfare. At the level of street crime, evil is opposed by different forms of police and government law enforcement agencies. In our day-to-day lives we are to oppose evil while loving people. As the Apostle Paul implied, people may appear to be the problem but it’s the demonic forces that stir people to do wrong. So, we bind those spirits stirring up trouble in Jesus name. We pray for those that don’t seem to be walking after love or in God’s ways. And we pray for God’s strength to show love and respect while having an appropriate voice opposing evil so that we may be a light to them. This is easier said than done for sure but, if you make it your practice, you can get good at it! And it’s what Jesus wants and directs us to do!
Paul encourages us to show respect and love to all, even in discussions where there is disagreement. There are many arguments amongst people over moral issues. When two people have a strong unchangeable opinions, debating with each other is almost pointless. Neither will change each other’s mind and often end up despising or hating each other. But, if you take two people who have opposing views but have treated each other with great love and respect and where a sincere relationship of trying to understand each other has been built, either one’s mind becomes subject to change. Love is what pries a closed heart open which in turn can lead to true seeking and truth. 2 Timothy 2:24-25 (NLT) “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.” Romans 12:9 (RSV) says, “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good.” These words are preceded by the words “Love must be sincere.” Love must dominate hatred in order for hatred to be rightly used. They have to be used for good and for blessing and not for wrong and destruction. Learn this and do this and you’ll have better lived a life of love!
Luke 6:27 (MSG) “To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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