July 5 - The Power of Hatred
Love, no doubt, is the greatest constructive power on earth. It gives humankind the reason to live on, reflecting the love of God in human lives. When we do things out of love, good things are going to happen. Hate, on the other hand, is the greatest destructive force on earth. It gives humankind the reason to destroy each other, reflecting the hatred of Satan towards God and His creation. When we do things out of hate, terrible things are going to happen.
The Jewish people were adamant about what Paul was doing, being jealous of his influence on his own people, directly threatening their way of life. This jealousy quickly turned into severe hatred and hatred then turned into a plot to kill. They were so determined to kill Paul that they had made an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed him. They did not only want to get rid of Paul, they did so by putting their own lives on the line. It was either Paul dead or they would not live. This was how religious differences could turn into a life-death situation. Throughout human history, religious wars between groups, sects and religions are common. Jealousy turned into hatred then turned into killing of one another.
If you look a little deeper, the jealousy had come from a religious spirit of self-righteousness. The practice of the Jewish religion over the years had proven to be right and according to God’s revelation. If Paul was preaching a different way, then he must be wrong. In order to prove that they were right, heated emotions roused up by a few were spread to a larger group of people. Mob psychology was in operation, causing individuals to do the thing that they would never do on their own. Soon, self-righteousness turned into anger and hatred. When enough people were gathered together for such cause, murder could happen.
This is what truth without grace can result in. When Christians only uphold “the truth” and persecute those who do not hold the same view, conflicts will happen. When there is no love there to resolve the conflict, hatred will become the order of the day and Satan will bring destruction to the situation. This is how churches split, families broke up and friends part company. In the end, the desire to be right can bring in hatred, the greatest force of destruction for human relationships.
Many Christians think that the so-called “righteous anger” is justified. However, since none of us is righteous and sinless, our anger always results in hatred and destruction. So some of our desires to right the wrong, to uphold the underdog and to bring justice to society might have come out from our sense of self-righteousness. Search yourself now, do you have a need to be right? Do you hate those who hold a different view than yours? Ask God to reveal these things to you in prayer.
Ps 145:1-7 1 Chron 1:1-2:17 Acts 23:11-35 Prov 18:14-15