Hate Vs. Love

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  January 14, 2017

            In Matthew 7 Jesus reminds the faithful that if we ask we will receive, if we knock we can expect the door will be opened, and if we search then we can be assured that we will find. For good reason, these wise words are related to the good-faith efforts to follow God’s will, seek God’s goodness in life, and look for the abundance of God’s mercy in our lives. These prophetic words of Jesus Christ have an even deeper, and more profound meaning!
            That which one seeks will be found. The doors upon which a believer knocks will be opened. The questions a believer asks will be answered. This is not only a biblical truth, it is a reality that human psychology vividly illustrates. It is also a danger that Jesus warned against in his epic “Sermon on the Mount” as recorded in Matthew 5-7.
            The perceptions upon which one sets the mind will, in a very significant way, dictate the very behaviors that ultimately bring about the reality. It can be understood as the “Self-Fulfilling Prophesy” and it works in very distinctive ways.
            Consider a simple example. Imagine that you believe a particular person is an evil person, filled with lies, and pathologically opposed to your best interests. Since you are already convinced the person hell-bent on destruction, you will understandably find every reason to hate, rebuke, and oppose such a person. Additionally, you will align yourself with the opinions, perceptions, and beliefs of people who share in, and reinforce, your vile opinion of the one whom you find so reprehensible. Ultimately, an individual will use the affirmations of like-minded people to reinforce the preconceived predictions of how awful the hated individual truly is. This predicted reality then confirms the belief system that was asked for, searched for, and fully anticipated when the knocking began.
            In simplified terms, consider two people looking at a field of daisies. The one who is convinced of God’s goodness and beauty in the world is more likely to find the incredible exquisiteness of the field in radiant bloom. Conversely, the one focused on filth and corruption will see only how putrid the soil is in which the flowers are growing.
            This reality is particularly vivid in the aftermath of last year’s highly contentious election campaign. There is no escaping the fact that there are many who find nothing but evil and corruption with the President Elect. Similarly, there are many who hold equally vile opinions regarding the outgoing President. Regardless of which side one takes, the reality is, if a Christian can only define himself or herself in terms of what is hated, despised, and must be defeated, it sets up a dangerous self-fulfilling prophesy. When we focus only on what we hate, on what is wrong, and what must be defeated, we fail to see the genuine goodness in Creation. Lest we forget, God is bigger than any political figure, more loving than any elected leader, and more powerful than all of the world’s military machines combined.
            As Christians, our call in Christ is not to focus on the things we hate or despise, but to ground ourselves in God’s love and grace. The way to serve God is not found in using power and authority to control others or dictate how people must believe. Such distortions of God’s true religious tenants make the Christian no better than the Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Teachers of the Law that Jesus so vehemently opposed throughout his ministry.
            Like it or not, a lot of Christians today live in a politics of hate. Many hate-filled Christians are so convinced of their own self-righteousness that they are blind to their own hate. Christ calls us to a different reality. Rather than living in hate and fear, we must live in love!