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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?

Monday April 22- Does God Hate People?

 

Psalm 5:4-5

O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked. Therefore, the proud may not stand in your presence, for you hate all who do evil.

Like the other psalms, Psalm 5 deals with everyday life. It is lament Psalm of David. A cry for help. David speaks with God as a friend, right from the heart.  His are words are sadness, and brokenness, mixed with joy and confidence. Practically, Kings in ancient days have a lot of people trying to kill them! So, when we are listening to Psalm 5, this is real serious business.

Now we may not have people trying to kill us, but we know the human condition. There are many forces out there that can be scary. Our health, the state of our families, and economic situations come to mind. So, we can understand how David feels and may feel the same. Listen.

 

Wait a minute, there seems to be a contradiction here. David says God hates people who do evil but Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” Who is right?

Obviously, Jesus. God doesn’t hate anyone. God sent his son to die for the those who do evil. And the Bible says, God is love.  God hates evil behavior or wickedness, sure. But not the person who does evil.

So, is David wrong? Yes, if he is taking this as license to hate anyone. So, is the Bible wrong? No, this is just an example of a very important biblical principle. The Bible can be descriptive as well as prescriptive.

The descriptive are Bible passages that describe something. A description. Prescriptive are Bible passages that prescribe something to do that will be helpful. Like a prescription.

David is describing how he feels and he projects God into it. He hates those who hate him, and he projects his feeling on God. But, God directly told us how we are to feel about our enemies. “Love your enemies,” is what God the Son teaches us.

It is important for us to not take descriptions and make them prescriptions.

Me

Do you have enemies? People who are trying to work against you? Pray for them throughout the day.