Ann Landers once wrote, “Hatred is like an acid. It can do more damage to the vessel in which it is stored as well than to the object on which it is poured.”
No Place for Hate
The tone and tenor of so many conversations today are dripping with hate. Landers points out an insightful point for reflection. Hate is hard to contain. Like an acid destroys the vessel that is trying to house it and once that vessel is destroyed, hate has to go somewhere. We are seeing hate poured out in our culture at an alarming rate and unmanageable volume.
A not-well-known Biblical example of this is the account of Amnon and his half-sister Tamar.
“Now Absalom, David’s son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar. And after a time Amnon, David’s son, loved her” (2 Samuel 13:1).
Amnon’s love was really selfish lust. Amnon forced himself upon her, and found his lust for her had turned into hate.
“Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, ‘Get up! Go!’” (2 Samuel 13:15)
This hate destroyed his life, her life, and it damaged the family of King David.
Changing the Conversation
Some in our country are trying to deal with cultural issues in a way that creates a culture of hate not a spirit of cooperation. The law, guilt, and hate never change hearts; only empathy and compassion can soften hardened souls.
Where the people of God can step in the gap and change the conversation is through our engagement. Believers understand that only the Gospel of Jesus Christ breaks down the walls of hatred. I am reminded of the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 13.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
We use this passage for weddings, but it ultimately points us to Jesus, who is a living, breathing example of genuine love. If we could approach the hatred in our society with the heart of Jesus that we received in our baptism, people might be more receptive to join in to be a part of the solution. Love helps us to see those around us in need, through the eyes of a compassionate shepherd. Love compels us to want to go the extra mile, give sacrificially, and offer our time and talents, and spiritual gifts for the common good. Love motivates us to make a difference. What society needs now is more examples of love.
Racial tensions can be a source of hateful speech and action. Learn to respond to our neighbors with love.