Don’t you just hate those Dallas Cowboys? They beat the Philly Eagles and Philly is my home town.
How many of you hate ‘em? How many love ‘em? How many decline to state? Well, I’ll forgive you too along with the cowboy lovers.
How many times in your lives have you made comments like “I hate you!”, “Don’t you just hate it when that happens?” or “I hate them for doing that to me!”?
We can just sound like a fifteen year old yelling “I hate you!” at their parents when told not to do something or to go to their room.
What does God say about HATE? Sometimes it is ok. Ecclesiastes 3:8 (NIV)
8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
I want to talk about what God does not want us to hate and how to deal with the anger associated with it.
In teaching Jesus’ Word, John says:
1 John 3:15 (KJV)
15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
If I “defend” my home team by hating the opposition, God looks upon me as a murderer! Maybe not a serial killer, but a murderer just the same.
You know I proclaim my hatred of the Cowboys in jest, but I did say it to a friend and they recommended that I not use that word in this type of situation, hence the origin of this teaching. I needed to have my wrist slapped.
If it is in our hearts to hate anyone, we are in trouble. If we hate long enough even our own bodies will start to revolt and develop ulcers and all sorts of other ills. Psychosomatic medicine has proven this. But ulcers and other maladies are the least important things that will happen to us. We will have given up the Eternal Life that Jesus has promised us.
Our choices of words are important, but even more so are the feelings in our hearts.
Sometimes we have trouble distinguishing the difference between hate and anger.
Anger is: displeasure, to become greatly annoyed. Hate is intense dislike toward somebody or something; to have a feeling of intense hostility. We can see that some people really do hate sports teams; all of us have seen the soccer riots on and even fathers beating up little league coaches and referees on the Internet.
Job is a great example to study the difference between anger and hate and how to control our turn our hate into anger. After his animals and children and servants were killed, he still loved and worshiped God.
Job 1:20-22 (NIV)
20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship
21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Yes, Job was angry, and later when he was covered with painful boils, he complained bitterly to God, and even cursed the day he was born and for God to totally remove that day from the year., but he still praised Him.
Job 3:3-8 (NIV)
3 “May the day of my birth perish, and the night it was said, ‘A boy is born!’
4 That day–may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine upon it.
5 May darkness and deep shadow claim it once more; may a cloud settle over it; may blackness overwhelm its light.
6 That night–may thick darkness seize it; may it not be included among the days of the year nor be entered in any of the months.
7 May that night be barren; may no shout of joy be heard in it.
8 May those who curse days curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan.
That is a lot of anger, but Job still loved and worshiped the Lord.
There are some people that claim they Love God, but they hate that bully down the street or that politician or even a sports team.
The apostle John tells us:
1 John 4:20 (KJV)
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
So what are some of the things God tells us not to hate? Number one on the list is God himself.
Exodus 20:5 (NIV)
5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
Hating God and idol worship can cause some serious punishment, not only yourself, but you next generations can suffer for your hate.
Next on the list is your Brother.
Yes, that same brother that picked on you, but also you should not hate your Brother – all other people, both friends and foes alike.
Leviticus 19:17 (NIV)
17 “‘Do not hate your brother in your heart……
God does not want us to even hate our enemies.
Jesus told us to even love them.
Luke 6:27-28 (NIV)
27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
So the saying “Kill them with kindness” actually works. Notice I didn’t say murder them. When we love our enemies, when we pray for them, when we bless them, we may turn their spirit by kindness and thereby “killing” off their hatred.
Forgiveness is an important part for all of us to take charge of our hatred and anger. Jesus tells us:
Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV)
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Let me go back to the football analogy since this started my thought process.
So, ok, I’ll forgive the Cowboys for beating the Eagles. What happens the next time the Cowboys (or even the Oilers for that matter) trounce the Eagles? I forgive them again. And the next time and the next and the next?
Jesus had a conversation with Peter on this very subject:
Matthew 18:21-22 (NKJV)
21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
I know I’ll forgive the Cowboys more than that, which works out to 70 touchdowns if I count points; 490 touchdowns if I don’t count points. In 1984, Miami had 70 touchdowns in the entire year.
What does this mean to you and me? This boils down to always forgiving those who trespass upon us.