If you read the Gospel, one of the things that Jesus addressed is the heart of man (Mark 7:21-23) because sin starts from man’s heart. Along with that, one of the things that Jesus also addressed in the Gospel is hatred. Sins like murdering or insulting your neighbor have deeper roots, often in one’s hatred towards their neighbor. It is a heart issue since sin itself is an issue of the heart. If one thinks that they didn’t sin because they didn’t literally murder the person they hate, that doesn’t mean that person didn’t sin against God. Jesus said that the moment you conceived hatred against your brother, you have already sinned, as though you were murdering him (Matthew 5:21-22).
Hatred shouldn’t be held if one is considered to be a follower of Jesus. Jesus was aware that someone might do wrong against us, but He instructed us not to respond with hatred but instead with love (Matthew 5:43-48). Hatred is a kind of bitterness that doesn’t do us any good. It’s like drinking poison and expecting the one we hate to die. Being a follower of Jesus means loving others and forgiving others. Indeed, it is hard, especially if one is wronged unjustly, but the Bible teaches us not to take vengeance into our hands but rather surrender it to God (Romans 12:19). Instead of retaliating, one ought to respond toward their enemy with kindness and love, for the Bible says that it is like heaping burning coals on them (Romans 12:20). One can only forgive others when one encounters the forgiveness of God towards Him in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:32). It is by the grace of God that we can let go of bitterness and be consumed by His love for us so that we may love others. One cannot claim to love God but hate his neighbor. Loving God and loving others is inseparable, and we show that we love God by loving others (1 John 4:20).
On the other side, that doesn’t mean you should love everything, as there are things that a follower of Christ should hate, such as sin (Psalm 139:21-22). Of course, if you want to honor God, you won’t love the things that are an abomination to Him and dishonor Him, but instead you will hate these things. In fact, the book of Psalms has many verses that talk about hating the things that God hates and loving the things that God loves. The bottom line of hating the things God hates is our desire as radically transformed followers of Christ to live a life that is pleasing to God. Even God himself hates, and He hates sin. Because God is a holy God, sin is something He cannot allow to go unpunished. But thank God it was all satisfied and paid for on the cross.
We are now in a standing where God looks at us with love and not with hatred (thanks to what Jesus did for us). Because of that, we ought to look at others not with hatred but with love as well. Yes, it is hard to do, which is why we need to pray to God to give us the grace to do so. God is more than willing to help and give you the grace you need. Not to mention, hating someone is something not of your identity now that you are in Christ. You are made in the likeness of God; it is what Jesus restored, and the Holy Spirit is working on it in your life right now so that you may be more and more like Christ with every passing day.
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