Destruction in Disguise
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good (Romans 12:9, NLT).
One of the first things I remember taking place when I committed my life to Jesus Christ was the erosion of bitterness and anger and the growth of a love I had not known before. Years of bitterness and anger that had been building up just began to dissolve.
If we claim to be followers of Christ but harbor bitterness or hatred in our hearts toward someone, there is something very wrong. John was very distinct when he wrote, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” (1 John 4:20, NLT). John was saying that if we have hatred in our hearts toward fellow members of the body of Christ, fellow Christians, then there is something wrong in our spiritual lives.
Maybe someone has wronged or hurt you. Even so, God calls on you to love and forgive that person and not to avenge yourself. Here is why: that bitterness and hatred will do more harm to you than the person to whom you are directing it. It will eat you up inside. It will destroy your life. It will hinder your time of prayer with God. It will hinder your worship. It will, for all practical purposes, act as an obstacle in the relationship God wants to have with you.
There is no room for hatred, bitterness, or prejudice in the heart of a child of God. God wants our love to be honest and without hypocrisy.