Thursday, March 7, 2013

God's definition of "hate"

1 John 3:13 (NCV) Brothers and sisters, do not be surprised when the people of the world hate you.
God loves us so much he calls us his children. We belong to Him and once we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we are made new. In God’s eyes we are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). As we grow in our Christian faith, we are changing to become more like Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us in 1 John 3 that the world will not know us – in fact we will be hated – because the world doesn’t know God.
Hate. It's such a strong word isn't it? Jesus teaches us to love each other. Jesus loves even when people hated him. John tells us in verse 14 that “whoever does not love is still dead." In fact John continues with “Everyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer."  Whoa! Stop here for just a second. Have you ever uttered the words “I hate that guy!” or “I hate her!”?
I know I sure have. I remember on several occasions when I said “I hate ______________!” When I was younger my dad would always ask “hate is such a strong word, do you really hate or do you just dislike?” It took a while before I understood that hating someone was just like murdering them. I know I don’t want to be considered a murderer in God’s eyes… do you? We must love… because Christ loved us. But according to John words are not enough. We must back up our words with action and true caring (v 18).
I am still learning to love the way Christ loves. Whenever I feel myself wanting to utter the words “I really hate ____________.” I have to remind myself of what I am actually saying. I would much rather work towards loving the way Christ loves instead of being consumed by hate.

Related scripture: Deut. 6:4 – 7, Matt. 22: 37 – 39, 2 Cor. 5: 14 – 15, Joshua 22:5

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