BlogFam, as I consider the subject matter today, perhaps my "Greetings!" is a little too cheerful. Maybe I should try the generic and often way too dry...
As I was reading today's passage of scripture for the My Vision Fast [www.MyVisionFast.com], of all the beautiful words that are contained in Psalm 139, I was struck by David's expression of HATE.
Don’t I hate everyone who hates you? Don’t I despise those who attack you? Yes, I hate them—through and through! They’ve become my enemies too. [Psalm 139:21-22 CEB]
There are many things that I search the Scriptures for in order to justify my thoughts, actions, positions, opinions, and authority but hatred has not yet made that list. But after reading the words of our beloved David, the only man in the Bible with the description as "a man after God's own heart," perhaps, I should reconsider.
Maybe I should reconsider hate as a viable option to live. I cannot lie, my stomach cringed as I typed that sentence but what are we to do with these words in the Bible? What are we to do with these very hate-filled and mean-spirited words in the Bible?
Now, I know some of the saints reading this have begun to check out or reinterpret the word hate in order to justify David's hate of his enemies, making the assumption that David is justified in his hatred because his enemies were also enemies of the Most High. Is that you? When you read something in the Bible that does not sit too well with you, do you just kind of make it right in your head so you can keep reading OR do you use it as a platform to charge against or move in favor of whatever might seem a little off about it forgetting your discomfort or confusion or ignorance? Well, I am not sure what you usually do, but today, I invite you to wrestle with me for a moment. Let us reconsider hate.
HATE seems to be a hard pill to swallow and a dark place to live. Furthermore, the HATE that you might feel actually keeps you in emotional, social, physical, and dare I say, spiritual bondage.
According to an article entitled, "Hatred has Side Effects," by Hoxton Health,
"Hating someone feels like a strong thing to do. It is a strong sentiment, but it leaves you weak. Not only physically but also emotionally and mentally. Your options are limited, your health is compromised, your connection is lost."
Hatred leaves you WEAK.
And I might suggest that Hate-filled attitudes and hate-filled actions weaken you in ways you do not anticipate, no matter how justifiable you seem to find your hate.
Hate is also the opposite of LOVE.
So, when David says,
Don’t I hate everyone who hates you? Don’t I despise those who attack you? Yes, I hate them—through and through! They’ve become my enemies too.
I do not feel the love.
I do not see the rationale.
I am not in agreement.
There it is. I said it. I do not agree with David's remarks motivated by his desire to hate. And yes, you can fix it in your head to say, Oh, but Delesslyn, in certain situations it is OK to hate. We are supposed to hate in very limited circumstances. God allows us to hate. And I will give you the strongest NO I can muster.
So why does David say this?
Psalm 139 is a beautiful passage of Scripture and frankly it reads quite well without these two verses. I can skip these two verses and be alright, but since they are here, as the hiccup in scripture that they are, let us reconsider hate. For maybe we should give hate a chance. Maybe?
We have already read the definition of hate and in my reading of a few commentaries, it is suggested that the idea in these verses is that David hates the sin of those who sin against God, even his own sin and that David wants to be clear that he takes no pleasure in the rebellion of others. He is not condoning or participating in anything contrary to God. He hates the enemies of God.
Well, OK. But BlogFam, I am still troubled by this declaration of hate. I think I am troubled because of all the hate speech and hate acts taken by people as reported in the news, seen in our neighborhoods, witnessed in our churches. Hate is a weak position and it is the opposite of Love. David's words do not line up for me with the two greatest commandments as articulated by Jesus:
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” [Matthew 22:37-40]
And aren't my enemies my neighbors too?
Aren't God's enemies my neighbors too?
OR do we get a pass on loving your neighbor because our neighbor does not love the Almighty, or is a sinner, or my neighbor hurt my feelings?
OR are we supposed to love God so much that we hate anyone who hates or attacks God?
I know this is hard.
Hate is such a strong word.
And this conversation might be causing you to feel some kind of way but it is in the Bible. Hate. This is what David says in Psalm 139. And we have to think about it. Pray about it. Ask God about it. And be very honest about it.
For hate weakens you and until I discover how to handle this word in Psalm 139, perhaps I will resolve to do exactly as David did immediately following his troubling words:
Examine me, God! Look at my heart!
Put me to the test! Know my anxious thoughts! Look to see if there is any idolatrous way in me, then lead me on the eternal path![Psalm 139:23-24]
Hate is such a strong word... but Lord may your LOVE overwhelm my heart for you, myself, and for my neighbors. May I remain open to your examination of my heart and healing of my heart in the places that might have hatred or hurt. And Lord, lead me on your eternal path!
God Loves You and I Do Too!
Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!