When You Can't Handle the Hate
- Meg Bucher Writer and Author
- 2018 30 Jan
Jesus promised us that “in the world we would have trouble” (John 16:33). Hate seems to be the prominent way societal agendas are pushed into action. Do you remember the part in Frozen when Elsa realizes that the key to controlling her icy powers is the warmth of love? The cartoon queen might be on to something. After all, how much hate can we throw at hate before we end up consumed in the eternal coldness of winter?
“The antidote to hate is compassion,” states Psychology Today, “for others and ourselves.” Christ sacrificed His life for everyone, and His command to us is to love… above all else. When you can’t handle the hate, practice compassion.
Hate can attempt to get under our skin and either make us believe outright lies about who God says we are, or turn towards another to claim lies about who they are. In three simple steps, we can realign our thoughts to the tune of Christ’s love.
1. Find the Facts
When we can’t handle the hate, consult the Word. The more we know about Scriptures, the more hope we will find in our quest to endure the onset of hate’s prevalence in our world.
Jesus said, “Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13). The NIV Study Bible notes confirm the latter of this verse to mean that “such perseverance is a sure indication of salvation.” Miseo, the contextual Greek word for ‘hate’, means to pursue with hatred. “Everyone” means everyone.
Hate is defined as “to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest.” The progression from dislike to hate can be slow and sneaking. After all, that’s the game, isn’t it? Jesus said, “the enemy has come to steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10).
Synonyms for the word ‘hate’ illustrate just how slow and sneaking the decline can be if we are not careful to check all of our emotions against the Truth of Scripture before we release them out of into the world. Animosity, antagonism, enmity, hatred, horror, hostility, loathing, pain, rancor, resentment, revenge… If left unchecked, we risk exposing the very people looking to us for words of compassion and encouragement, to a hate-slamming test.
2. Call on Christ
The same Greek word referenced in the beginning of this article, mineo, is used again in the following two verses (Remember, part of the definition is to “pursue with hatred”). 1 John 3:15 states, “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life reading in him.”
We actively choose to pursue hate.
Jesus also said, “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in their world will keep it eternal for life” (John 12:25). Scripture commands us to hate the God-convicted parts of our hearts, and in obedience and diligence let Him make us a new creation, one hard part of our heart at a time.
When we can’t handle the hate anymore, we can call on Christ for the humility we need to recognize the error of our ways. When we endure criticism, we can trust that there is always a lesson for us to grow from as a result of it. And when we are tempted to speak negatively of someone, Scott Sauls provides the following gut-check: “Have we forgotten that a half-truth is the equivalent of a full lie? Bearing false testimony is always unbecoming of a follower of Jesus. It’s one of the Ten.”
3. Learn to Love
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
Love requires obedience. Jesus linked love to obedience over and over again, calling the true sentiments of our hearts to take action. He also commands us to love our enemy. Anyone that has ever felt adversity come against them knows that loving an enemy is done out of an obedient heart.
Compassion… to forgive, pray for, and love our enemies. We must obediently focus our thoughts and behaviors on answering hate with compassion and love. Scripture tells us to “take captive of every thought.”
Let us consider our Shepard and how He cares for His sheep, seeking not one to be lost. Can we encourage each other without assuming and assigning motives? Jesus doesn’t treat us like that. He loves us for who we are, and meets us where we are. Right or wrong, He loves us, and He calls all of us to follow His lead.
Praise You for the life of Jesus and the lessons of Your Word. Thank You for the people that You place in our lives to sharpen us, and help us to forgive those who cut us down. We lift every shred of hate in our hearts, our line of sight, and our communities, to You in prayer. Grant us hearts full of His compassion and love for each other, as You command.
In Jesus’ Name,
Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/G-stockstudio
Meg Bucher (Megs) encourages others to seek Him first through her life as a stay-at-home mom, career as a freelance writer, teaching Emoti-moms Weekly Bible Study, and leading the kids worship teams at her local church. She resides in a small, Northern lake town with her husband of ten years, two daughters, and their Golden-doodle. Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on her blog, http://sunnyand80.org.