Madison Christian Church

Devotional July 30, 2018

What do you think of this quote I read recently? Here it is: “Hate is just another word for ‘want but cannot have.’

It was said by a guy who was a Christian, who then became an “almost atheist” and is now somewhere between. He seems to be working his way back toward faith. He used that idea about hatred in reference to the way many atheists appear to hate Christians and Christianity. He said that many atheists seem to be so angry toward Christians because Christians seem to have something they want but do not have. In other words, many atheists or agnostics would love for it to be true that there is an eternal God who created everything, loves us, saves us and will give us an eternal life in a place where everything will be perfect. This is what he said as his opinion. I believe the things that are keeping many of them from such faith are multifaceted forms of pride. But I have to be careful about that. It may be that some, for whatever reason, struggle with certain questions I’ve never considered.

It made me think about a couple of things: 1) It made me think about hatred. Do I have anyone I hate? If so, why? What causes such a strong emotion about them? You cannot hate someone unless you have at some point expected something from them or thought they should behave a certain way, or wanted something from them which you are not seeing or experiencing. This may explain why many non-Christians may be full of hatred toward us or toward others (of course not all of them are). But it made me think: Are there people I hate? The only thing I am permitted to hate is evil. Romans 12:9 says to hate or detest what is evil and cling to what is good. Proverbs 8:13 says “the fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.” I should hate things or behaviors that conflict with God’s holiness. But I am not to hate people.   The message of the gospel is that I cannot hate anyone. I am to even love my enemies. That means I am not allowed as a Christian to be rude to anyone, attack anyone, gossip about anyone, ignore anyone, slander or insult anyone etc. If I do and I say I love God, John says in 1 John 4 that I am a liar.

2) The second thing it made me think about was what a precious gift faith in God is! I am so thankful that however God did it, that He did give me a faith in Him. Ephesians 2 says we are saved by grace through faith and that that faith is not from ourselves but it is the gift of God. We should be so thankful God has given us the capacity to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead and will give us eternal life after this life is over. And we should be thankful that He has given us a faith that daily gives meaning to our lives. Atheists and agnostics can try to ignore it all they want, but the reality is irrefutable: if there is no God, they have no objective reality on which to base morality or meaning.