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before you panic, let me explain …
God never hates people. Regardless of a person’s color, gender, political beliefs, social-economic standing, or sin—God loves. He loves the whole world, and all are of equal value to the Father. (What’s happened in Charlottesville breaks His heart, and it should break ours.)
However, though God is love, He does hate certain types of behavior, and in particular, any evil that damages what He loves most—people. In fact, it is His passionate love that causes Him to abhor anything that messes with the objects of His love. You. Me. The world.
From the era of Cain and Abel on, anytime anyone damages or destroys someone physically, verbally, or emotionally, God goes nuclear.
You think I’m exaggerating?
Here’s what Solomon wrote:
Proverbs 6:16-19 (ESV)
16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.
Notice what these seven things all have in common: they destroy people and relationships—and God finds them all detestable.
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul provided a similar list:
“I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.” 2 Corinthians 12:20 (NIV)
In other words, Paul said, “I don’t like what I’ve heard about you, Corinthian Christians, and you’re not going to like it when I deal with these destructive sins in your midst!”
Unity mattered a great deal to Paul because he knew firsthand the negative power of divisiveness.
Sadly, I’ve seen self-destructive practices in the Church my entire life. I’ve watched Christians demolish one another, pastors bad mouth their church board, and church members bash their leaders. I’ve also seen staff members throw other team members under the bus at times.
The poisoned roots of pride, selfish ambition, slander, and gossip have resulted in noxious weeds that have ruined many relationships, families, and even churches.
To be clear,
we shouldn’t ever see bitterness,
hatred, or resentment in the Church …
Because gossip and bitterness destroy the community of faith.
Because selfish ambition hinders our growth and progress in advancing the Kingdom of God.
Because slander and discord make it impossible to faithfully practice the nearly fifty “one another’s” in the Word.
Because pride and infighting turn the stomach of unbelievers, who know that Christians should be different.
Because God hates it.
There is a right way and a deeply disturbing wrong way to deal with conflict (Check out what Jesus taught here or what He wrote about peacemakers here).
The problem is, too many have little, if any, understanding of how much God hates it when you and I blow up relationships.
If we did, we’d be a lot slower to speak evil of one another. We’d be much more concerned about “sowing discord.” And we’d focus more on the log in our own eye rather than the speck in someone else’s. As someone once said, “If you spot it, you’ve got it!” Meaning, almost always, what we hate in others can be found in our hearts as well.
Thomas Carlyle, the famous Scottish philosopher, historian, and teacher once said, “Men’s hearts ought not to be setagainst one another, but set with one another, and all against evil only.”
We don’t always have to agree with each other.
We don’t always have to see things the same way.
We don’t always have to like each other!
But we do need to love one another and guard the unity we have in Christ.
Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created,
with peace binding you together.
EPHESIANS 4:3 (VOICE)
How is God encouraging you today?
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