I am struggling recently. The reason is because I have some real, true hatred towards some people. I hate what they have done to my life, I hate what they have done to me spiritually and I say that I have forgiven, but I have not. In reality, I hate them. I don't want good for them. I want them to fail miserably. I want fire to come down from heaven and destroy them. Have you ever felt this way towards another? It is draining. I know all the verses of the Bible that speak on hatred and I know that I should be forgiving and I have told myself that I have forgiven them, but in reality, I know that I haven't. The question isn't, "what should I do about my past?" the real question is, "what am I going to do in my present so my future is about Christ and not hatred?"
I know that there are others out there who have come across this harsh reality in their lives, yet most in the Christian circles will just smile at them and pat them on the back and tell them to "forgive and forget." Well, to be honest, it's not that easy. These are real emotions and a reality that doesn't go away by praying a mantra to a fairy god of healing in the sky. One of the things that I love about God is that he isn't always a miraculous, instantaneous healer, but he allows you to work things out while he is there with you comforting and aiding you. Honestly, during this time, I love verses like these:
O that You would slay the wicked, O God;
Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.
For they speak against You wickedly,
And Your enemies take Your name in vain.
Do I not ahate those who hate You, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
I hate them with the utmost hatred;
They have become my enemies.
You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me,
And I destroyed those who hated me.
They cried for help, but there was anone to save,
Even to the Lord, but He did not answer them.
Then I beat them fine as the dust before the wind;
I emptied them out as the mire of the streets.
Those verses are awesome to focus on during hate, because you get to focus in on God destroying those jerks you hate so much. But, like anything, too much focus on one end is going to bring a spiritual war where you know you are hell bent in the wrong direction. The question really is, "How do you get through this hatred so that it doesn't control you?" Because isn't this the worst part of hatred? The worst part is that those you spend the most time hating, control your emotions and spirit from afar. Brutal. I am writing this in the middle of hatred, not in the beginning, not looking back, but I am smack in the middle of it. I figured that I would provide an answer to those who are also going through this, or who will in the future.
1. Know That God Is In Control
Most of the times that we see David in the Psalms speaking of hatred, he then entrusts himself to God. I have to remind myself of this. God is not only in control, but he is allowing me to go through this for the betterment of my joy and his glory. I have to make sure I really focus in on this. Rage and reaction happens when I am not happy with what God is doing with his control or the pragmatic belief that he is not in control. I can recite verses, but until I allow God to work on my heart to understand that he truly is in control, I will continue in my hatred and allow those I hate to control me, instead of the Spirit.
Look at how some of these verses end in regard to those you hate:
I hate those who regard vain idols,
But I trust in the Lord.
I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness,
Because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the troubles of my soul,
And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a large place.
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Notice that although emotions run high in human beings, that both David and Paul point us back to the one who is in control and is just, therefore having the right to bring down judgment. We must not just recite these verses, but truly try and live them out.
God knows your heart. Don't be fake. Don't pray for your enemies if you don't mean it. If you do, you will be like those who praise God with your lips but your heart is far from Him. Pray that God would be working on your heart and working on your satisfaction in Him instead of man. Even Jesus didn't entrust himself to man because he knew their hearts (John 2:24,25). Usually, when you hate it's because you put too much trust in man and in some way made them your functional saviour. You need, I need, to pray that God exchanges that functional saviour to the real Saviour who never disappoints and never leaves us. We need this to be a heart change to Jesus, that only comes through prayer and the leaning on the Spirit of God who comforts his own. As the transformation starts to happen, I am guessing it will be easier to truthfully pray for my enemies. At this point...if I pray for my enemies I am lying.
3. Look to Jesus, Recognize the Pharisee
Jesus was the most undeserved person to ever be hated, yet he was. I am not saying that we should get some "hatred" complex, but what I should do is notice that I am not like Jesus, who was hated, but when I hate another, I am like the Pharisees. Remember that you, I, am doing the hating, not being hated. When we look at the Scriptures, the one who is hated, is like Jesus and the one doing the hating, is the self righteous Pharisees. This hurts. This reality sucks. But, the reason that we hate is because we truly believe that we "would never do that to someone" that we "deserve better", we really believe that we are better than others when we hate. What I am going to do is look up all the verses of the Pharisees and instead of putting the word "Pharisee, Sadducee or Scribe" I am going to put my own name in the text.
Both Seth began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
Then Seth went and plotted together how they might trap Him in what He said.
You are blind Seth, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. Woe to you, Seth, hypocrite! For you are like a whitewashed tomb which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.
When I hate, I am a functional Pharisee. I need to return to the cross and our Christ.
Hatred is real. It's not a fake emotion, but one that takes you over. It causes cynicism and true pessimism in everything. I need to realize it's danger and put it at the feet of the cross. I can't just give up and say that, "this is just how I am." This is what those who aren't Christians do, or really immature Christians who don't believe in the changing power of the Spirit. I need to realize that I am not my own, I am made in the image of God and I have the Spirit who dwells in me and God tells me:
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13
This where I am going to start. I am not sure how it will work out, but I pray that in this situation, God's glory wins out and not my own. At some point, I have to ask whether or not I am going to feed my idolatry of self, or if I am going to feed off of the Bread of Heaven, who is my real God who never fails. Any other god is a joke, especially myself and I laugh at my dumb self everytime I realize that I am making myself an idol. When I do this I go to Elijah's words of "encouragement" about this god that I worship instead of our Jehovah. Because, just like Baal, my god, which is myself in hatred, will always fail and not show up:
Then they took the ox which was given them and they prepared it and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon saying, “O Baal, answer us.” But there was no voice and no one answered. And they leaped about the altar which they made. It came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside (Hebrew for "relieving oneself"), or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened.” So they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them. When midday was past, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention.
1 Kings 18:26-29
Now that's funny. May God intervene in this and display his glory on my heart that I might not follow after a failing god in myself, but follow and surrender to our true God for his glory and my joy.