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John 13

Love one another as I have loved you.

There is a lot of confusion over the use of the word, “love” today. We don’t get what love means. Not really.

Sometimes we use the word “love” to mean we have a strong passion for something.

We love chocolate, love our favorite tv series, love our football team. This is not love. It is desire or delight.

There are other ways the term, “love” is misused. In fact in the recent election, a misuse of the word “love” became part of political campaign. The whole “Love Trumps Hate” slogan not only got “love” wrong, it got “hate” wrong, too. At least from a biblical perspective. “Love trumps hate” is a clever phrase. But, as usual, people pass off cleverness as intelligence.  Far from it.

The biblical meaning of love and hate are not represented by this slogan. To love someone is to will what God wants for them and work for this within your range of influence.

It does not mean to try to please their desires and champion the cause of them doing whatever they want.

To hate someone is to try to work evil in their life on purpose. It doesn’t mean to disagree or oppose their viewpoint. Confusing?

I don’t know if you watched the news, but when I saw “Love Trumps Hate” sign holders or t shirts wearers, the people usually appeared filled with rage and contempt. Well, that doesn’t work.

Being bigoted against those you consider bigoted makes you a bigot.

If you hate haters you are a hater.

And, if you are a Christian full of rage and contempt, you are showing you do not understand Jesus.

I suppose someone has the right to be uneducated about the meaning of love and hate if they are not a Christian, but if you are following the model of Christ, you need to show far more wisdom. Rage and contempt are not part of Jesus.

Christians can’t hate. We cannot work evil on purpose against someone. Not ever. 100% of the time God wants good to come to the lives of even those whom we consider most vile. Rage and contempt are never an option for Christians. You see, love is actually an overall disposition toward what is good and right in God’s eyes. Dallas Willard says it this way:

“Our aim under love is not to be loving to this or that person, or in this or that kind of situation, but to be a person possessed by love as an overall character of life, whatever is or is not going on. The “occasions” are met with from that overall character. I do not come to my enemy and then try to love them, I come to them as a loving person. Love is not a faucet to be turned on or off at will. God himself doesn’t just love me or you, he is love. He is creative will for all that is good. That is his identity, and explains why he loves individuals, even when he is not pleased with them. We are directed by Paul to “be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave himself up for us.” (Eph. 5: 1-2) We are called and enabled to love as God loves.”

ME

People who speak out about hate might be the most hate-full people you know. Why is that?