What is hate? In my view hate is the total absence of love and forgiveness. Hate does not allow the object or person to be accepted, loved or forgiven. I have experienced this personally in my family. One family member cannot ever forgive or love the other person due to so much hate. Hate gives no room. Hate shuts the door for God’s love.
I bring this up because I have seen many comments regarding how white people hate black people and visa versa. There have been several online conversations on how white people oppress black people including those who go to church.
1 John 2:9-11 “The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”
How can you say you love God and have hate in your heart? You deceive yourself. You cannot love God and hate your brother at the same time. God is love. He is the creator and source of love. If we do not love according to John (1 John 3 and 4) we are not in Christ.
When a white man shoots up a black church does that mean all white people hate blacks? Certainly not. When a black man shoots a white police officer does that mean all black people hate whites? Of course not. How about when a white Christian belongs to a group that promotes hate? Is that person who promotes hate walking in God’s love? I don’t believe so. 1 John 3:15 “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
If we take the standard of God’s Word and apply it to ourselves first then we can begin to examine how we treat others. Are we willing to lay our lives down for others? Can we forgive others regardless of religion, gender or color who have wronged us?
Many years ago I was working with a prominent black man. We were working together on building a Christian entertainment company and searching for talent. He needed some working capital and I provided it. The business failed from the start. I have not heard from him since and I chalked up the investment as a loss. Regardless of how much I was hurt by another Christian I had to let it go and forgive. I needed to allow God to minister to me and show me that I was in the wrong to loan the money, not my brother who never paid me back. It’s not his fault I gave him the money. I willingly loaded him the money and skin color was not a factor in that decision.
I was upset for a while because of the bad deal. But due to the depth of of God’s love for both of us, I can’t get all out of sorts against my brother. I believe I am in Christ and God takes care of me. God will also provide for my brother. It was just a bad business deal.
The point is we treated each other equally. I had no other motivations other than to build a business together. I can say with certainty the other person had no other motivations than to build a successful business. There was equality.
Equality. Written in 1776 the Declaration of Independence’s introduction proclaims that all men are created equal. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Even before this time the Word of God declares:
Colossians 3:10-11 “and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.”
Even before the foundations of the world God had a plan and He even knew us. Since time is not a factor for God this word in Colossians was on His mind even before it was penned by the Apostle Paul. In God’s eyes white men, black men, yellow men, red men, and brown men are created equal! We are all created in God’s image.
This means that one group is not above another. One group does not have to hold another group above another. One group should not give preferential treatment to another. If we are all equal, we all have equal opportunities then there should not be any struggles between different colors.
Let me dissect that a little more. I suggest there should not be any struggles. But we have struggles and conflict between colors. In my view, that is primarily because we do not see each other through God’s eyes. I do not know the personal struggles others have gone through. I am only trying to bring to light the root of the issue of all the hate and bitterness in the world.
One group has always oppressed another. This is how Satan from the very beginning has caused division between God’s creation. In the first family, Adam and Eve, their offspring were pitted against each other. Cain rose up against Able and killed him because of jealousy. The Hebrew children were enslaved under the pharaohs of Egypt for 400 years! In the time of Christ the Romans oppressed the Jews. Not so long ago the Nazis oppressed the Jews. Today we see how one religious group in the name of their god are trying to wipe out Christians and Jews. This is happening because there is evil in the world!
Jealousy, pride, control, manipulation, etc. have caused rifts and division against humanity. This is the plan of Satan and his demons. ‘A house divided cannot stand’ (Matthew 12:25).
Many years ago I was applying for grants and student loans right out of high school. I earnestly wanted to get into architecture and be a design engineer. There were many students standing in line with their own desires. After turning in my paperwork I soon discovered I was turned down for the grants. The words ‘Affirmative Action’ were ringing in my ears from the media around that time. I asked myself, “Could it have been that I was white and the local college was pushing to increase their black population?” No one would do such a thing!
I ended up paying for most of my own tuition and books. Since I was looking at the world’s view, In the back of my mind it did seem I was becoming a minority.
If we look at the world’s system we should be concerned. The government seems to hand out billions of dollars to people who live in areas that we hardly ever see change. Only a few million would help people clean up their yards, pay for better education, help people start a business or training for a better job. But it doesn’t seem that is what is happening. You can’t throw physical money at a spiritual problem.
Several years ago I was stage manager for a large Christian event in Downtown Orlando. While giving stage direction for a young black gentleman who was about to give his testimony, the Lord spoke to me clearly. The Lord said, “racism is rooted in unforgiveness”. Let me repeat that, ‘The root of racism is rooted in bitterness and unforgiveness’.
Not only do whites not forgive blacks but blacks do not forgive whites. I am certainly not saying all whites and all blacks harbor unforgiveness. But those who practice racism, who feel slighted by the other color, who feel they are owed or deserve something, carry unforgiveness.
As soon as I could I put my face in the carpet I asked the Lord to remove the years of bitterness and unforgiveness towards my fellow man. I didn’t do anything to practice racism but I had bitter feelings when I saw certain things happen that involved people of other colors. There was a new peace that surpassed all my understanding towards my brothers and sisters of other colors and races.
A few years after that time of deliverance I was challenged in my new love and understanding of God’s love and grace towards His creation. It was around the time when a black man was running for the highest office in the world. I listened to him, briefly. I read some things about him, briefly. I did not care about the color of his skin, I cared for and was deeply concerned about the motives of his heart
In the work place many colleagues who were Christians and black challenged me about my feelings towards a black president. I have no problem seeing anyone become president as long as they are qualified to do so. They will have my vote if they stand for God’s Word. When I was pressed about the color of the democratic nominee I said in front of about 1,000 people, “He is half white. I do not like the white half. I don’t care about the color of his skin. I’m concerned about his motives!”.
We as Christians must see the roots of today’s issues and discern what is really happening. For instance the whole issue with the Confederate Flag. I am not a history scholar but from what I understand the war between the states did not start over slavery. I do not want to get into a history debate but people must do their research to fully understand what really happened. Across the internet and media today there are truths and lies everywhere. We must discern which is which!
The point is, we can harbor bitterness and unforgiveness in our hearts towards anything and anyone. Jesus said if we even have unforgiveness in our heart it is sin. We don’t even have to act on it. We don’t have to burn a cross on someone’s yard. But we certainly burn a cross in our heart every time we allow the darkness of bitterness and unforgiveness in our heart to rise up against our brothers and sisters of other colors.
That cross that is burning is symbolic that we take the love of Jesus towards His creation for granted. The Cross of Calvary that Jesus died on for ALL mankind has no (zero) value when we harbor bitterness and unforgiveness towards anyone! It is not only sin in God’s eyes, but we take the very symbol of God’s love towards us and just throw it away. We burn it!
Many people that say they love God but act like complete fools by burning crosses, killing or slandering against his fellow man and as James says walk in darkness. How can anyone say they love God and hate God’s creation?
When the festering of bitterness and unforgiveness reach the boiling point that is where people start to show their hate. That is where hate turns to anger and anger into rage. Rage then may act out with words that do as much damage as a gun would.
Words are like seeds. When they are sown into the garden of our soul they will produce fruit. Good fruit like the fruit of the spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, longsuffering, etc. (Gal 5:22). Then there is bad fruit like bitterness, jealously, anger, wrath, bitterness, and more.
The words we have believed regardless if they are true or not are going to produce fruit. The fruit is how we act and conduct our daily lives. If we are believing in the truth of God’s word then we are cultivating the fruit of the spirit. If we believe in lies of the world then we prove it by the fruit of the flesh.
We must cultivate the garden of our souls to root out the bad fruit and sow good seed. We must root out the weeds of hate, bitterness and anger to produce a greater love for God’s creation.
Our struggle is not against people. Our struggle is against the roots of hate, bitterness and unforgiveness. With the roots of hate exposed to God’s light and love bitterness and unforgiveness cannot survive. Pull up the roots and there is no fruit!
I cannot ever comprehend the struggles and trials other people have had. I cannot understand why one group would enslave another or treat someone of another color with so much hate to the point of death. I will never understand or feel the pain ship loads of precious men, women and children felt when they were forced from their homes, sold for pennies and became someone’s merchandise. I was not there when the natives of this land were forced from their homes and mistreated.
But I know one who knows. I know one who was bought for a few pieces of silver. He was practically disowned by his very Father. Many of His closest friends ran away. He was brought before a judge and a crowd who hated and despised him. I know of one who bore stripes upon His back and a crown of thorns placed on His head in mockery. I have never experienced pain as He or others did. I can only imagine His pain and suffering He took for me because of His love for me.
Let us be the Church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let us come together to be an example of love and forgiveness. We can take into account the past, but let us love one another with the love of Christ. Let us set aside every encumbrance (Heb 12:1) and be an example to the world that our God is love and He is the God of forgiveness. Let Him take away all our pain, bitterness and unforgiveness. Let us allow the Holy Spirit of God to minister to us and show us the pain and suffering Jesus took on the Cross for us so we may know His love for all His creation. Let us go to war over the lies of bitterness and unforgiveness so we may walk in the fruit of the spirit (Gal 5:22). Let us destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5).
That means that we have an enemy who has spoken lies to us; lies that we have believed to be true. Lies that are against God’s truth. Jesus said “you shall know the truth and the truth will set us free” (John 8:32).
Let us be free to love, free to forgive, free to help others get set free!