Love & Hate

I am shocked! I think I have discovered one of the reasons there is such discord between Christ followers and unbelievers. We have wildly different definitions of words.

First this is how the words are defined to the world (from Merriam Webster):

Love

  • strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties
  • attraction based on sexual desire :  affection and tenderness felt by lovers
  • affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests 
Hate
  • intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury
  • extreme dislike or antipathy
  • an object of hatred
 

And this is how I have always understood them to be defined:

Love, whether used of God or man, is an earnest and anxious desire for and an active and beneficent interest ins the well-being of the one loved.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Hatred: A feeling of strong antagonism and dislike, generally malevolent and prompting to injury (the opposite of love); sometimes born of moral resentment.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Please note the difference especially in the definition of Love. The world says if you love me, you must like me, and if I don’t like what you do, I must hate you because I fear you. The church says love wants what is best for you. So when we tell someone that what they are doing is, according to our understanding, harmful or detrimental to their spirit, then are we not being loving? Of, course we can say it in a way that demeans or disrespects and then we have stooped to hatred. But to just say what we believe to be true should not be taken as hatred.

But the question is often asked, ‘what right have I to criticize another’s actions?’ The right of a Brother living in the same Family.

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.  Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2 (NIV)

That is assuming that I am truly interested in helping my brother and not just playing some game of ‘I’m right, He’s wrong’, or one-upmanship. Now when there are honest differences of opinion over what is right or wrong, we should carefully go to the source of our knowledge (the Bible) and make sure we are hearing from it what God is saying.

Another common question is ‘Doesn’t the Bible tell us to not judge?’ Let’s take a look at that.

 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  Matthew 7:1 (NIV)

The word translated Judge is also used elsewhere with the fuller meaning of condemn, as in pronounce eternal judgement. We are not to take the place of God and pass judgement on someone but we are to inspect each others’ lives and help them to be more Christlike.

My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back,  remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20 (NIV)

To those outside the Family I believe the first thing is to clearly show that we Love them and want what is best for them, then cogently lay out God’s salvation plan:

  • God loves each and everyone of us and wants to have a relationship with us.
  • Each of us has chosen our own way and spurned Him, thus killing any relationship with Him.
  • Jesus is the ONLY way back to a relationship with the Father.
  • All we have to do to have that relationship is to trust Him and believe.

After that the only thing we have to say is what Jesus said:

 “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?  Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?  If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Mark 8:34-38 (NIV)

3 thoughts on “Love & Hate

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