More Than Hate
Alex Enabnit – Research Editor
For the past few weeks we’ve been in a series to discover how we are made for more. Today, things got heavy as we tackled the topic of hate.
If you were to take a poll of any population, the results would likely be consistent on one thing: there is a serious civility problem in America, and it just seems to be getting worse. And when incivility continues to run unchecked, it inevitably turns to hatred. The interesting thing about hatred, though, is that it seems to be a learned trait. We aren’t born hating people of a different race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. That creeps in over time. And what’s scary about hatred is that, much like pride, it’s very hard to see in ourselves. Luckily, there is good news – if we can learn to hate, we can also learn to love again.
During Jesus’ time on earth, there was a prevalent hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans. This tension was so overt that when travelling from Galilee to Judea, Jews would go around the region of Samaria, even though it was much shorter just to walk through. So in Luke 9 when Jesus and His disciples are travelling through Samaria to get to Jerusalem, Jesus sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan town to prepare for his arrival. But when the villagers got word that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, they refused to welcome Him. This enraged the disciples so much that James and John were just looking for an opportunity to strike back. They asked Jesus for permission to wipe out the town with a heavenly fire, to which Jesus emphatically opposed. He had no ill will toward the Samaritans, in fact, Jesus even made a Samaritan the hero of the most famous parable He told – The Good Samaritan.
Jesus had more of a right to hate than anybody else ever has, but He didn’t. He loved His enemies and practiced what He preached, even as he was being crucified on a cross. And the real kicker is, He calls anybody who follows Him to do the same; love others, love enemies, and even pray for those who persecute us. We are called to love! It’s not easy, but it’s necessary, and perhaps now more than ever before.
Verses and quotes from the sermon:
Luke 9:51-56; John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:18; Luke 6:27-28; Luke 23:34; Genesis 1:27; 1 Peter 2:17; Matthew 5:13-16
“I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity. No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Nelson Mandela
Look to the Son – Hillsong Music
O Come to the Altar – Elevation Worship
Psalm 23 – Central Music