“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
“Mom, why is it so much easier to hate and be mean than it is to love and be kind?”
This is one of the many questions that have arisen over the past few days in my house. And it is a good question. It encompasses a universal truth of humankind: to hate is easy, to love is hard.
Hate and unkindness seem to be a type of default human setting, a hard wired effect of sin. This hard wired setting also carries with it the settings of pride, envy, selfishness, and jealously. It requires no effort, no thought and no filter to throw stones and hurl accusations at others. We have no problem acting as judge, jury, and investigating officers over situations that we know nothing about. We can easily find fault in others, especially those who are most visible. At the first sight of wrongdoing, we point fingers, cast blame, and paint a red “A” on the person. Condemnation, judgment, and shunning require no effort. We speak out against others as easily as we speak about the weather. We gossip, speculate, and tear down as if in doing so we will spare ourselves from a similar fate.
Yes, to hate and to spread hate is easy. But whoever said the easy way was the right way?
If hate is a default setting, then love must be an update or an upgrade.
To love is hard, at times showing love is absolutely impossible, but yet God is the God of the impossible. The God who demonstrated love to the very ones who were nailing His hands and feet to the cross, is the same One who can love through us. The Bible says in John 13:35 that we will be known as followers of Jesus by the fact we love others.
After all, Jesus showed and continues to show love to everyone, even though none of us deserve it.
He loves the lovely and the unlovable.
He loves the commendable and the condemned.
He loves the esteemed and the estranged.
He loves the sinner and sin-illuminator.
He loves the physically hungry and the power-hungry.
He loves the accused and the accuser.
He loved those calling out to crucify Him, just as He loved those crying as He was crucified.
He loves those who hate Him and He loves those who love Him.
Jesus Himself is Love and He is the only way we can truly love others.
Jesus never turned away from a person who truly repented and sought forgiveness. Jesus restored, redeemed, reclaimed and remade. He is able to restore sinners and victims. He is able to heal, and make new.
Love heals, while hate further opens wounds.
My heart has been so very heavy this past week. Things in this world feel different; as if sitting in a play where you are so busy watching the actors on stage that you don’t realize the scene behind them as changed.
The scene and climate of our world has changed. A battle is being waged and evil is creeping in while hate takes center stage.
Oh how I long for God’s people to stand up in love and pray for the boldness, strength and courage to not be content with our default human setting, but to pray to the God who is Himself Love and ask for Him to fill us with Himself so we can show Love to this broken world, and to fellow Christians.
Love, forgiveness and compassion are the weapons we must use to fight the hatred growing all around us.
Hate is easy, judgment is easy, condemnation is easy.
But Lord let us not be content with easy. Raise up Your people and strengthen us to do what is hard: to love, to forgive, and to show compassion. Give us Your wisdom and discernment to know how to love victims and perpetrators; and give us the courage and strength to forgive and restore, and to admit that we are all sinners in need of You, the Savior.
We need You Jehovah Rapha to heal our hearts, our people, and our land. We give our hearts to You. Please show Your love in and through us. In Jesus’ Name, amen.