“There is no part of the human soul so persistent and universal as that of hatred. There are hatreds of race; hatreds of religion; hatreds of gender; social and personal hatreds. If hatred were a hurricane, there would be a storm over all the earth perpetually.
Hatred is an “intense dislike or ill will”; Resentment that is usually mutual: prejudiced hostility or animosity (e.g. old racial prejudices and national hatreds). People hate because they do not love. A loving heart has no place for hate, bitterness and malice.
The Effects of Hatred
Hatred is a deadly poison that exudes from the depths of hell, destroying every soul that breathes in its toxic fumes. Its carcinogenic chemical has many side effects:
1. Hatred stirs up trouble. Listen to Solomon: “Hatred stirs up strife: but love covers all sins” (Prov. 10:12). The friction between Joseph and his brethren was induced by hate (Gen. 37:4,5,8). Congregations are torn asunder because brethren despise and detest, reject and repel one another. Nations are divided because of hatred of anyone who doesn’t look like, acts like, or believes like them.
2. Hatred leads to murder. Because the brethren of Joseph hated him, they said, “Let us slay him” (Gen. 37:20). Because of perpetual hatred, the Edomites (Mt. Seir) shed the blood of the children of Israel (Ezek. 35:5). The Jews crucified Jesus because of their animosity and hostility toward him (Jn. 15:18-25). The apostle John precisely states, “Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 Jn. 3:15). Murder is simply hate expressed in an overt act.
3. Hatred provokes sins of the tongue. David was the target of the biting barbs from the mouth of his enemies. He says, “They compassed me about also with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause” (Ps. 109:3). The cruel opposition to David was nothing but a fabrication. Even so, hatred needs no justification. Solomon said, “A lying tongue hates those it hurts” (Prov. 26:28).
Abrasive, rude, cutting and harsh language generates from those whose hearts are filled with hate. This is also true of gossip, slander, faultfinding and false witnessing. Jesus said, “That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt. 12:36). The way we use our tongue is a most serious and grave matter.
4. Hatred fosters resentment and retaliation. The Bible is filled with passages forbidding revenge (Prov. 19:11 cf; 24:27,29; Matt. 5:38-48 ff; Lk. 6:27-36; 1 Cor. 4:12; 1 Pet. 3:9). When Jesus was “reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not” (1 Pet. 2:23).
Someone once said, “To render evil for evil is devilish; to render good for good is human, but to render good for evil is Godlike”.
5. Hatred begets envy and envy begets hate. We see this vicious cycle in the life of Joseph and his brethren. They hated Joseph (Gen. 37:4,5,8) and subsequently, “his brethren envied him” (Gen. 37:11). The Jews hated Jesus and they delivered him to be crucified because of envy (Matt. 27:18; Mk. 15:10). Envy is “rottenness of the bones” (Prov. 14:30).
The Character of Hate
Hate is an odious, malevolent malady. Hate, once it infects the heart, finds no good in his neighbor. If he walks, his gait is proud and haughty; if he laughs, he is derisive; if he weeps, he is hypocritical; if he looks grave, he is insolent. Every fault swells into magnitude, and every virtue shrinks into littleness. Let us focus upon the following features of hate:
1. Hate is a characteristic of the world. Paul wrote of those in the unregenerated state, “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another” (Tit. 3:3). Those in the kingdom of Satan, hate. But the children of God must put off such works of darkness.
2. Hate is a work of the flesh. It is cataloged with fornication, idolatry, witchcraft, murder and drunkenness (Gal. 5:19-21). They who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Hatred will keep us out of heaven.
3. Hate is harbored only by fools. Solomon said, “He that hides hatred with lying lips, and he that utters a slander, is a fool” (Prov. 10:18). Analyzing this verse, David Thomas astutely said, “Wickedness hides hatred by lies, and slays reputation by slanders. It is often honey on the lips and venom in the heart. It is always associated more or less with a villainy that hides itself under flattering words, and works out its ends by treachery and lies.
4. Hate is cruel and mean. The enemies of David were many and they hated him “with cruel hatred” (Ps 25:19). We see this kind of ill treatment vented upon Abel by Cain, upon Joseph by his jealous brothers and upon Jesus by the rebellious Jews. Anyone who stands up for the truth of God is a target of hate anywhere in the world. As Jesus warned us, “And you shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved (Mk 13:13).
The Cure for Hate
There is only one remedy for hate and that is love, a love that is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, etc. (1 Cor. 13:4-7). If we love as we ought, we will love our brethren:
1. As the Lord loves us. “A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (Jn. 13:34; cf. 15:12).
2. With unfeigned love. Love is to be genuine and unhypocritical. Peter said, “Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren” (1 Pet. 1:22). This kind of love is not in word only, but also in deed and in truth (1 Jn. 3:18).
3. With a pure heart (1 Pet. 1:22). To love with a pure heart is to be free of malice, guile, hypocrisies, envies and evil speakings (1 Pet. 2:1). Peter says we are to lay aside these evil things as a result of being born again. These are laid aside (put off) as one would discard filthy and dirty clothing.
4. With fervency (1 Pet. 1:22). This shows the intensity of love. It describes an emotion that is forceful, vivid and earnest. We are not to love loosely, indifferently or casually, but vigorously and energetically.
Don’t hate but rather “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matt 5:44). “Let brotherly love continue” (Heb. 13:1). In the words of Solomon, “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith” (Prov. 15:17).