I Asked Myself, “Do I Hate Anyone?”

“I hate that man!”

My friend’s words shocked me. Taken aback, I just stared. This friend was a good Christian–someone I loved and respected. I didn’t love or respect my friend any less. Nor did similar strong expressions from others regarding people in their lives cause me to love and respect them any less.

But words of hate these days make me sad. Why? God tells us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). He doesn’t insist that we love what they do. We all fail at times and, let’s face it, certain personalities just rub us the wrong way. Yet no matter how we feel, God urges us to love–be patient, kind, forgive, not keep a record of wrongs, and many other acts of love recorded in 1 Corinthians: 13.

So I had to stop and look into my own heart. Did I hate anyone?roses to indicate love, not hate

To my mind sprang a day when I was walking to work. Out of the blue the Lord spoke gently in my heart, “Are you going to forgive him?” I knew who the Lord was talking about, and that person hadn’t hurt me directly. But he had badly wounded someone I loved. Still, he had passed away many years before, and I barely ever thought of him anymore. Yet God knew what lay buried in my heart.

Swallowing hard, I forgave. I let my hatred go. Why? For the sake of my relationship with God. He says he cannot forgive us unless we forgive (Matthew 6:14-15).

I also thought of a man who had hurt my family by fixing the books and refusing to pay my dad the several hundred dollars owed for work Dad had done. This, right before Christmas and at a time when my parents needed that money to pay bills and put food on the table. For a long time, I held this wrong against that man. I did not wish him well.

But the day came when I had to face the wrong I was doing in God’s sight. Once again, it was time for me to put aside hatred and forgive. To leave the matter in the hands of God who, as we all know, is wiser than we.

So, here we are at the start of the new year. I’m looking in my heart and asking God, “Do I hate anyone?” Even a little?

I want to start this new year with a blameless heart before God. How about you?

 

 

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