Unforgiveness and Hate
One of the most destructive attitudes—if not the most destructive—for a Christian to display is hate. Think about it. How well can the saving light of Jesus Christ shine in a life that is totally shrouded in loathing, rage, and malice? And what picture of Christ does this type of person show to the unbelieving world?
Hate is a total breakdown in the Christlike attitude we are called to exhibit. Yet even in churches, it’s not hard to find individuals just brimming over with hostility. Where does it come from? One of the key reasons believers are so prone to hatred is an inability to forgive those who caused them hurt—especially when such treatment is undeserved.
Let’s take a “hate test.” Think about someone who hurt you in the past, and consider these “heart checks”:
IF YOU HATE SOMEONE, YOU CANNOT SHAKE THE MEMORY. Does the scene play out in your mind over and over?
IF YOU HATE SOMEONE, YOU CANNOT WISH HIM OR HER WELL. Do you genuinely wish the best for a person who has hurt you?
IF YOU HATE SOMEONE, YOU WANT THAT PERSON TO HURT JUST AS YOU HURT Do you secretly desire this individual to experience the same pain that was thrust upon you?
If these questions have revealed any hidden animosity in your heart, don’t leave your chair until you prayerfully meditate on Ephesians 4:31-32. First, read the passage aloud. Then, personalize it into a prayer, and let God’s Holy Spirit cleanse your heart of hatred by empowering you to forgive an old hurt.
You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. Psalm 145:16
Hand gestures can communicate our innermost thoughts and emotions. Clenched fists reveal anger. White knuckles and trembling are usually the result of fear and nervousness. We close our hands around things we want to hold on to and open them to receive and give gifts.
God’s generosity is described in the verse above. He created and sustains life. He opens His hand and satisfies the desires of every living thing. Our very existence is dependent on God. If we overlook God’s generosity or find ourselves in the midst of a painful season, it’s easy for a mindset of scarcity to take over. We become afraid of losing what we have, and our heart’s stance becomes one of grasping as we seek to control our circumstances.
This is an exhausting place to be. Not only do circumstances remain outside of our control, but we miss opportunities to participate in the joy of giving because we are focused on protecting what we have. We also miss God’s gifts to us because we are focused on our lack. The first step to living with open hands is to embrace the truth of God’s generosity. When we believe in God’s goodness and His love for us, we find the freedom to receive and release His gifts.
Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open. Corrie ten Boom
Recommended Reading: Isaiah 40:27-31