The news media frequently highlights it. Talk radio hosts decry it. People express frustrations about it on Facebook. Rational people are turned off by it. Yet, hatred marches on, apparently as strong as ever.
The Green political party hates the Purple political party, and vice versa. The fans of the team west of the river hate the fans of the team east of the river, and vice versa. The citizens of super power X hate super power Y, whose citizens in turn hate super power X. The CEO of a traditional clothing chain hates the CEO of a more contemporary clothing chain, and vice versa. Oh, yes, hatred is alive and well.
In urban neighborhoods where people live in close proximity to one another, hatred sometimes flourishes and burned police cars are the evidence. Out in the countryside, where the nearest neighbor is over a mile away, close friendships that go back three or four generations are ruined permanently by hatred. No, hatred is not about one’s location.
Females are haters; so are males. Fifteen-year olds are haters, but so are seventy-five year olds. The wealthy can be haters, but so can those who live on low incomes. Hatred is not about one’s gender, age, or economic status. Hatred is about the heart.
Hatred did not begin yesterday. Esau hated Jacob after little brother got their father’s blessing (Genesis 27:41). When Joseph’s brothers saw that Jacob loved him more than he did the rest of the brothers, they hated Joseph. When he told them about his dreams, they hated him even more (Genesis 37:4,8).
Hatred played a role in the death of John the Baptizer. John told Herod Antipas, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife” (Mark 6:18). In response, that wife, Herodias, “held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not” (6:19). Ultimately, her death wish came true. Hatred kills.
Jesus, the greatest practicer of love in human history, was hated and murdered by hateful people. Despite His great works and compassion, some of the Jewish leaders hated both Him and His Father (John 15:24). And the really sad part? Jesus said, “They hated Me without a cause” (John 15:24,25).
So, why do haters hate? Some people just have an evil heart (Mark 7:23). They are mean and show no respect to others. Think about Cain. His hatred led him to murder Abel. Why? “Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous” (1 John 3:12).
In some instances, envy has aroused hatred which led to murder. Former boyfriends, girlfriends, and spouses have been so enraged by rejection and seeing their “ex” happy with someone else that they have pulled the trigger in order to end one or more lives.
Some people hate out of ignorance. They may have learned hatred from their parents or a mentor and have just bought into the idea that hating others “is the thing to do.” For sure, hatred often breeds more hatred. People of one race distrust and despise those of another race. Why? In many cases, that simply is what they have been trained or programmed to do. Such people need to learn the gospel’s message of the Godhead’s love and our Lord’s call for us to love all people, yes, even perceived enemies (Luke 6:31-35).
Darkness hates light, because darkness does not take kindly to being exposed. Jesus said, “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:20). If we use the gospel to point out a moral mistake or a false message, exposing “the unfruitful works of darkness” (Ephesians 5:11), do not be surprised if some folks go beyond defending themselves to lashing out at us in hatred. Ahab hated Micaiah the prophet. Why? In the king’s words, “. . . I hate him because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (1 Kings 22:8).
Some people hate others because they feel some type of personal damage was inflicted on them by those people. It may be mental pain or it could be physical harm. Absalom hated Amnon and killed him after the latter raped Tamar (2 Samuel 13:22).
Ultimately, hatred reigns in a heart due to a lack of love. In 1 John 3:10-15, we read about the need for Christians to love one another. That is what God’s children do (3:10). In contrast to showing proper love, some hate. In fact, in John’s Spirit-guided language, a failure to love a person is the same as hating him/her. In our person-to-person relationships, regardless of whether we are dealing with friend or foe, lost or saved, family or non-family, hatred is unacceptable.
For all of the advances that the human race has made in the areas of technology, science, and medicine, hatred still flourishes. Why can we not see its horrors and learn to avoid it like a deadly disease? Non-religious people display hatred, but so do those who are devoted to a religious cause. Would to God that we could claim that Christians never display hatred for other people, but the truth is, God’s people sometimes fall into the hatred trap, too.
Before we obeyed the gospel, many of us were “hateful and hating one another” (Titus 3:3). Hatred of others has no place in the heart of a born-again person. Let us be known as people of love, not hatred. Reducing the amount of hatred in the world begins one heart at a time. It starts with you and me.
— Roger D. Campbell