We can find ourselves relishing the dislike, disagreement, or even hatred we feel for people. Have you noticed this in yourself? The one you’re at odds with; it could even be your church; you find yourself preferring to hold onto the disagreement or their offense so that you prefer to see them as an enemy and never a friend.
Oh, my has the rancor over the presidential election made conservatives and liberals feel this way about each other! But I’ve also had conversations this very week with various people who now despise their former church, pastor, and even family members. The gospel love of Jesus has been banished from their hearts.
CS Lewis made a thoughtful statement on this in Mere Christianity.
The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, “Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,” or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally, we shall insist on seeing everything—God and our friends and ourselves included—as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.
First Corinthians 13:7 says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” In the gospel Jesus did these to us. With the gospel He transforms us to do this even to those we might enjoy hating. What does this reveal about what’s going on in your heart?
Jared Wilson’s post on this at The Gospel-Driven Church made me think of this today and want to pass it on to you. How does this stir you? Are you loving the hate you feel for people? …or loving the love?