Stop Trying to Justifying Your Hatred

  (Part Two of Series) “And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and […]
March 30, 2014

 

(Part Two of Series)

“And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’  Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?  “And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins. Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in his injustice that he has done he shall die. Again, though I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ yet if he turns from his sin and does what is just and right,  if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live. Ezekiel 33: 10-16; ESV

 

Picking up where I left off from my last article; my friend made the following statement when talking of my involvement in local Jail Ministry: “I don’t know how you do it; having compassion and talking with those in jail or former inmates. I have a really hard time finding forgiveness for those people because I have been their victim on several occasions. Just recently, I was at a hearing for an incident where I was victimized and thought that their sentence isn’t harsh enough. Is that wrong of me?” Here is my response to him: “Because of you being a victim of not just one, but several different people, I can understand your feelings. However, don’t let your hatred or anger to cause you to fall. We sometimes remain the victim because we give them control of our anger. And whoever controls your anger controls you.” We had other discussions and focused on the possibility of rehabilitating the offender(s) instead of just letting them to their own demise. It’s one thing to minister to someone who has done wrong; but when you were victimized by them, there remains a huge struggle because we want justice and sometimes, sadly to say, revenge. No one knows this any better than Jonah.

In the story of Jonah, he was called by God to go and minister to Nineveh; a place that was an enemy to Jonah and his people. His hatred was so strong that he went in the opposite direction to avoid doing God’s will. Long story short, God brought him to Nineveh and Jonah spoke the word of God. The people repented and the Lord spared them. This didn’t sit too well with Jonah:

 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.  And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”  And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?” Jonah 4: 1-4; ESV

And even with this, the Lord spoke His heart to Jonah:

And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” Jonah 4: 10-11; ESV

God does not seek to send people to Hell; nor does He delight in people suffering: not physically, mentally, emotionally and especially spiritually. And when they go through these, God reaches down with His great compassion and love and attempts to rescue us from ourselves.

The Disciples of Jesus Christ had once been enemies of Paul (Saul was his name at first). Paul was the greatest persecutor of the church; he put many to death because he believed they were going against the church and the beliefs he held dogmatically. But when Jesus appeared to Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus, Saul’s eyes were open to who Christ really was. The Disciples had great concerns and cautions because they believed it was some sort of trap which Saul was using to capture and kill them. They believed this because they were victimized by Saul. But just as Jesus opened the eyes of Saul, He opened the hearts of the Disciples and, as history shows us, Paul was a man driven by his love for Christ to turn from his past persecutions and to live (and die) for Christ.

Looking at the passage from Ezekiel, we can see that God’s heart is not only for the “saved”, but for all people. He seeks for all people to have a relationship with Him. In fact, as the passage shares, those who do “good” works in His Name and yet continues to sin will be separated from Him. But to those who have great sins against God and repent; turning away from such and turn towards righteousness; they will be forgiven. This being said; how might God view our hatred and despise for the people who victimize us? Sure, He understands our feelings; just look at how He must have felt when we crucified Jesus. But look at Jesus’ response to the very people who crucified Him:

 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23: 33-34; ESV

All of us can justify our hatred before man. But when we try to justify that hatred before God; we don’t have a leg to stand on. For every reason we give for hate, Christ can give us a dozen reasons for love and forgiveness. Besides, when we pray the Lord’s Prayer and come unto the part where it says “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…” (Matthew 6:12; ESV), can we honestly expect forgiveness when we don’t offer it to others?

In my next part, we will discuss the effects of forgiveness and the glory of second chances when it is offered to the last, the least and the lost; especially to the felons, ex-fellons and their families.

Father God,

 Please help us to release our hatred and to accept those who have sinned against us in the same way You have accepted us. Let us experience the joy in the freedom to love instead of the bondage of hate. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Kenny

Christian. American. Father. Husband. Friend. Brother. Son. Grandson. Uncle. Cubs Fan. Digital.

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