Destroyed by Hate

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 1 John 4:20

In his book Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In, Louis Zamperini spoke of a war buddy who lost a leg in conflict because of the ruthlessness of his enemy. The man survived war and prison camp, but after returning home he brooded over his treatment. “He grew increasingly bitter, and his hate became more and more intense,” Zamperini wrote. “His whole life was ahead of him, but he couldn’t embrace the present or the future. His hate had destroyed his spirit.”

By watching his friend, Zamperini articulated a core principle of life, which he shared with many groups: Hate is a personal decision, and it always turns around and destroys us. When Zamperini found Christ at the 1949 Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angeles, he discovered the key to forgiveness. The only way to forgive is by the Holy Spirit working within us. Only the Spirit of Christ makes it possible for us to show loving compassion to those whom, in the natural order of life, are our enemies.

The Bible says, “And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:21).

When I’ve counseled troubled kids, I found that they have lots of serious hate: for their situations, sometimes their families, society, the rules, and often themselves…. Hate destroys…. It destroys you. Louis Zamperini

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