Give up hatred and learn to love.
Fred Phelps was founder of Westboro Baptist Church died on March 19, 2014. He was famous for the hateful vigils that he and his church kept outside the funerals of gays, military people, and others with whom he disagreed. When we think of Fred we think of what hatred looks like.
But hatred can take other forms too. Like when we agressively seek to harm another person, write foul things on a person’s Facebook wall because we disagree with them, or in other ways nurse hateful feelings toward another.
Jesus categorically condemns such animus in his disciples. Love and prayer are the only proper response to someone who is troublesome to us. Martin Luther King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’ Matthew 5:43.
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust, Matthew 5:44-45.
Question: Who is someone you “hate”? Maybe not “Fred-Phelps” hate, but certainly not averse to writing something snarky on their FB wall.
Activity: Begin praying in a concerted way for the person you hate. Think of one way to bless them.
Prayer: Dear Lord, how hard it is to obey your command to love and pray for those who we hate. We want to stay as far away from them as possible, not love and pray. We want the same bad things to rain down on them as they have brought to us. May your Spirit convict and prompt us to love in the way you have called us to. In Jesus’ name. Amen.