Always remember: “You love God as much as the person you love the least.”
(7) Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. (8) The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love.1 John 4:7-8 (CEB)
The Victory in Virtue Series
Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Today I present another entry in the Victory in Virtue series. Today will be the final post for now, as I’ve now covered every Virtue and vice topic I had in mind. Today’s post is on the vice of hatred.
Hate. Our world seems to be full of hate these days. It’s a vicious, ugly vice. And as we’ll see today, it’s a vice that’s completely opposed to God’s Will. Hatred goes against the teachings of the Bible—both Testaments. But the contrast is most noticeable if we look at the New Testament. The vice of hatred is completely opposed to the teachings of Jesus and His Apostles.
So if we fall to the vice of hatred, we’re out of agreement with God. And if we’re out of agreement with God, we’re in agreement with the devil. This is a dangerous vice we must get rid of immediately if we detect it. So read on, and learn why hatred has no place in our Christian beliefs.
What Is the Vice of Hatred?
Hatred. Noun: intense dislike or ill will.
Hmm. Is that all? This Google definition doesn’t say much. Let’s check Merriam-Webster then.
hatred (noun) : ill will or resentment that is usually mutual : prejudiced hostility or animosityhttps://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hatred
Right, I knew there was more to it. The vice of hatred is more than dislike, although that’s how it starts out. When dislike (which is prejudice, bias, etc.) grows, it turns into hostility or animosity. Now a person’s dislike (which is prejudice, bias, etc.) takes the form of actions, and not only thoughts.
Hatred is an important topic of the day, because it has many forms and we see all versions active around the world. There are many prejudices that can create a foundation for hatred, which is why many types of hatred exist. There are: Racial hatred, ethnic hatred, class hatred (socioeconomic), gender hatred, sexual orientation hatred, nationality hatred, political hatred, and more.
As you can see, there are many ways to hate people. Many false reasons that create the prejudices that lead to hatred. And all are sinful, in direct opposition to God and the teachings of His Word. In fact, God’s Word indicts hatred as a sin as early as Genesis 1, the first chapter of the Book! And how’s that? Well …
The very beginning of the Bible, Genesis 1, tells us God created humanity in His own image. All humanity was created in the Divine image. So all humanity must be loved and respected as we love God. If we hate anyone, we hate one of God’s beloved creations, made in His image. If we hate anyone made in God’s image, we hate God.
(27) God created humanity in God’s own image,Genesis 1:27 (CEB)
in the divine image God created them,
male and female God created them.
Here’s a good quote about hatred that shows my point: “You love God as much as the person you love the least.” I first read that quote in one of Dorothy Day’s books, but I’m not sure if she’s the one who first said it. Anyway, it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? If we believe in the Bible which says all humanity was made in God’s image, and we hate any human being (who was made in God’s image), then we hate God’s image, and we hate God.
We can’t hate another human being and also love God. The two emotions cancel each other out. Hatred brings us out of agreement with God’s Will, that we should love others as we love Him and ourselves.
The teachings of the New Testament are also solidly against hatred. One of the clearest passages on this is 1 John 2:9-11, which says what I’ve just said. We can’t love God and hate our brother or sister. Anyone who hates is in the darkness, they’re not in agreement with God.
(9) The one who claims to be in the light while hating a brother or sister is in the darkness even now. (10) The person loving a brother and sister stays in the light, and there is nothing in the light that causes a person to stumble. (11) But the person who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and lives in the darkness, and doesn’t know where to go because the darkness blinds the eyes.1 John 2:9-11 (CEB)
And by the way, all humanity are our brothers and sisters. If we hate them, any one of them, we’re in the darkness no matter how much we claim to be in the light of Christ.
In fact, if we hate anyone, we don’t know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8). The vice of hatred stops us from knowing God!! So hatred brings us closer to the devil instead. That’s living in the darkness.
(7) Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. (8) The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love.1 John 4:7-8 (CEB)
Another major Biblical teaching on God’s love for all is found in Acts 10. This is a critical chapter of the New Testament, confirming that the Gospels and Jesus’ Salvation is for all. God’s merciful Salvation is not only for the Jews, but for every tribe (ethnicity), nation, language, race, and so on. Anyone who believes in Jesus will be Saved.
God first “previews” this idea to Peter by showing him a vision. Peter saw a vision of unclean animals, and God told him to get up and eat them. Peter protested that he has never eaten anything impure (impure by the Jewish Law). And God replied, “Never consider unclean what God has made pure.” This was foreshadowing of what God would show Peter next.
(10) He became hungry and wanted to eat. While others were preparing the meal, he had a visionary experience. (11) He saw heaven opened up and something like a large linen sheet being lowered to the earth by its four corners. (12) Inside the sheet were all kinds of four-legged animals, reptiles, and wild birds. (13) A voice told him, “Get up, Peter! Kill and eat!”Acts 10:10-15 (CEB)
(14) Peter exclaimed, “Absolutely not, Lord! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
(15) The voice spoke a second time, “Never consider unclean what God has made pure.”
When we accept Jesus Christ as our LORD and Savior, we become born again, created anew. We become a new person, one who stays away from their old sins. Someone made pure in Christ. And so we too must never consider unclean what God has made pure (through Christ). Never call anyone impure, or think of them that way.
Moving on, Acts 10 tells the story of Cornelius, a gentile who lived in Caesarea. A holy angel directed Cornelius to summon Peter to his house, and hear what Peter had to say. The Holy Spirit told Peter to go to this gentile’s house and speak with him. And in this scene, Peter said one of the most important things in the New Testament: “I really am learning that God doesn’t show partiality to one group of people over another. Rather, in every nation, whoever worships him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
In other words, God’s Salvation through Jesus Christ is for everyone. Because God loves everyone equally. And if we hate anyone, we’re not in agreement with God’s Will that everyone should be Saved. If we’re not in agreement with God, we’re in opposition to God. Hatred puts us in opposition to God.
(25) As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in order to honor him. (26) But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Get up! Like you, I’m just a human.” (27) As they continued to talk, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. (28) He said to them, “You all realize that it is forbidden for a Jew to associate or visit with outsiders. However, God has shown me that I should never call a person impure or unclean. (29) For this reason, when you sent for me, I came without objection. I want to know, then, why you sent for me.”Acts 10:25-29, 34-36 (CEB)
[… verses 30-33, Cornelius explains the angelic visitor who told him to call for Peter …]
(34) Peter said, “I really am learning that God doesn’t show partiality to one group of people over another. (35) Rather, in every nation, whoever worships him and does what is right is acceptable to him. (36) This is the message of peace he sent to the Israelites by proclaiming the good news through Jesus Christ: He is Lord of all!
Jesus is for everyone. God’s merciful Forgiveness and Salvation through Jesus is for everyone. And this is because of God’s indescribable love for everyone. There is no group of people of any characteristic who God doesn’t love. God loves all people equally, and so we must do the same.
The final proof of this comes in Revelation, and the description of the End of the world. Who gets Saved? Is it only people from one race, one country? No. Revelation 7:9 explicitly says that people from all nations, tribes (ethnic groups), races, and languages will be Saved. Anyone who loves God and follows the Lamb of God (Christ) will be Saved. No exceptions!
(9) After this I looked, and there was a great crowd that no one could number. They were from every nation, tribe, people, and language. They were standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They wore white robes and held palm branches in their hands. […]Revelation 7:9, 13-17 (CEB)
(13) Then one of the elders said to me, “Who are these people wearing white robes, and where did they come from?”
(14) I said to him, “Sir, you know.”
Then he said to me, “These people have come out of great hardship. They have washed their robes and made them white in the Lamb’s blood. (15) This is the reason they are before God’s throne. They worship him day and night in his temple, and the one seated on the throne will shelter them. (16) They won’t hunger or thirst anymore. No sun or scorching heat will beat down on them, (17) because the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them. He will lead them to the springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
So we once again see that God’s Salvation is for all the peoples of the world. Faith is all it takes. Any other traits like race, socioeconomic status, and so on … none of those things matter.
OK, now we’ve seen that hatred is out of line with the Bible. It doesn’t match up with Old or New Testament Biblical values. Then why do so many people, including Christians, fall into hate?
Every person has their own weakness, and the devil knows exactly how to exploit it. The weakness that leads to hate is fear. Fear is the root cause of the prejudice, bias (etc.) that leads to hate. It’s the fear of the other, the fear of those who are different from us, that leads to hate.
As you may remember from Part 19: Fear, it’s not God’s Will that we should be afraid. When we fall out of agreement with God’s Will, we fall into agreement with the devil. Fear is demonic, and the more fearful we are, the more we invite demons into our life. These demons will then play on our fear of the other, and use that to attack us. We should welcome the other and show them the same love we have for God and ourselves. If we’re afraid of them and shut them out, we aren’t showing them that love, and we’re sinning.
The more demons we attract by living out of agreement with God’s Will, the further down the slippery slope we’ll fall. As they pick at our fear of others, they turn it into hatred. At that point the vice of wrath also enters the picture, because our fear turns to real hostility. Our fear turns to anger. So we could call the vice of hatred something like a combination of the vices of fear and wrath.
The worse our hatred gets, the more hateful actions we take. Our hateful thoughts are already a sin, but turning those thoughts into actions takes things to another level. The vice of hatred can easily lead to violence. If hatred isn’t stopped in time, it only gets worse and worse. Since hatred is demonic, the more time we spend in this sinful state only attracts more demons to us and makes it harder to get out.
Hatred is addictive. It can make us feel powerful to indulge in feelings of intense anger and thoughts of violence toward others. But these are only demonic delusions, coming through the medium of our emotions. Any power we feel from indulging in hatred is fake. The demons of hatred use this feeling to trick us, and get us addicted to hatred so we don’t turn away from the sin of our hate.
Hate is a demonic emotion the demons want us to feel. Since God is love, hatred is the complete opposite of Godly. Hatred is demonic.
Hatred of any kind, for any reason, goes against God’s Will and the teachings of His Word.
And now let’s move on to a specific type of hatred. Is there a Spiritual aspect to the vice of hatred?
I would say that if we have hatred for people of other religions, we’ve fallen to the vice of Spiritual hatred.
Although Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6), and Revelation 7:9 does not depict people of all religions being Saved, it’s still not God’s Will that we hate anyone. Out of love, we should tell people who follow other religions that their Faith will not lead them to God in Heaven. Out of love, we must evangelize and try to Save as many deceived people as we can.
Well, how can we do that if we hate them?
Unbelief can make us angry, I know it does for me. But we have to have love for all people, no matter who they are and what they’re doing. We need to see the Divine image in them. And although it’s unloving not to evangelize and tell people of other religions to change their ways, we need to be sure that we evangelize and tell them with love. Many times Christians come off as judgmental, angry, and even hateful when they call people of other religions to Christ. We need to fix that.
The vice of Spiritual hatred is close to the vice of Spiritual wrath. But I’d say the vice of Spiritual hatred is rooted in the sin of judging rather than wrath. But there is overlap between the two. In Part 15: Wrath, I said this:
We have no excuse to judge. We can correct and rebuke others for their sins, but we must never forget that we are sinners too. Everyone sins and falls short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). So while we have a duty to correct others, we have no right to judge others. We have to be patient with them, same as always.
In other words, we are in no position to condemn others. In the same way that the vice of wrath is taking payback we aren’t entitled to, and exacting punishment we have no authority to give, the vice of Spiritual wrath is condemning others for their sins when we have no right to.
The Vice of Spiritual wrath will lead to us being judged. Remember, Jesus taught us not to judge. If we do, we’ll be judged ourselves. When we know we’re all sinners (Romans 3:23), we can’t allow ourselves to get angry over the sins of others. We have no right; we’re filthy with sin and casting the first stone.
So there’s something to keep in mind.
Remember: If we hate anyone, we hate a beloved child of God made in God’s image. And religious differences don’t change that. If we hate anyone, for any reason, we fall out of agreement with God’s Will. Never give in to Spiritual hatred.
What’s the Antidote?
There’s at least one Virtue that can cancel out any vice. There is no vice that can’t be conquered.
For the vice of hatred though, besides the “antidote” Virtues I also prescribe a daily dose of reading God’s Word. The Holy Spirit will convict a person of the sin of their hatred if they read the Bible every day. Soon enough they’ll arrive at a passage revealing God’s indescribable love for all people. A person can’t remain stuck in the sin of hate after reading those passages if their Faith is real.
The Virtue of Charity is about our Christian love for all. It’s about loving God, our neighbors, and our enemies as we love ourselves. Obviously we can’t love others as we love ourselves if we hate people! This goes without saying. Growing in the Virtue of Charity will act as an antidote against the Spiritual poison of the vice of hatred.
The Virtue of Piety is about our love and respect for God. If we love and respect God, then we will obey Him and not go against His Will. But as we’ve seen today, hatred is against God’s Will as revealed in the Bible.
The vice of hatred is against God’s Will. If we hate another person, we hate someone made in God’s image. And so, we hate God. We can’t love God and hate anyone (1 John 2:11). So we can’t have the Virtue of Piety if we hate anybody.
Growing in the Virtue of Piety, our love for God, will stamp out the hatred in us as our love for God grows stronger.
Last, the Virtue of Self-Discipline is useful for fighting hatred too. Like lust or any other vice, the sinful thoughts of hatred are where hateful actions start. Every action begins as a thought in our minds. And since God knows our thoughts and feelings (Genesis 6:5), He knows if our thoughts are hateful. Even hateful thoughts are a sin, and must be rejected in our minds with the greatest Self-Discipline.
Any time we have a hateful thought, we must reject it and throw it down in the name of Jesus. We must have zero tolerance for those thoughts to be in our mind. In other words, we must hate the vice of hatred, and allow it no place in ourselves.
To control the thoughts in our own mind, immediately rejecting the sinful ones, takes the Virtue of Self-Discipline. But since our inner mind and heart are where hatred grows, this is where it must be challenged the most. Other people won’t know our hateful feelings if we don’t express them, so no one will be able to rebuke us for our sinful attitudes. We will have to do it ourselves.
Have zero tolerance for hateful thoughts. Use the Virtue of Self-Discipline to rebuke those thoughts as sinful every time they arise. Have the Discipline to destroy those thoughts before they have any chance to grow.
So these are the Virtues that counteract and conquer the vice of hatred. But our most potent weapon against hatred is prayer. So let’s now move on to some prayers we can use to guard against the vice of hatred, and fight it in our own lives.
Prayers against the Vice of Hatred
There are many prayers we could pray to combat the vice of hatred. The best ones of course will be the ones we create ourselves—the ones that come straight from the heart. Remember: When we pray we aren’t trying to say the right combination of words to unlock something in Heaven. No, that would be magic, which is an abomination to the LORD. Prayer is much simpler. Simply tell the LORD what you want, what you need, what’s on your mind, what’s bothering you, and so on.
Praying for help in fighting a vice is the best way to fight it. So here are a few short, simple prayers to combat the vice of hatred that you can try adding to your prayer routine.
Heal My Heart of Hatred
If we want something from the LORD, it’s best to come out and ask Him for it directly. Since He already knows what we want before we bring our request to Him, we don’t gain anything by holding back from the LORD. So, if we suspect that there’s hatred in our heart, we must come straight out and ask the LORD to heal us of it.
The healing process won’t be a “magical,” instantaneous thing. What the LORD will do for us, if we ask Him to, is convict us in the Spirit and show us areas in our life where we are hateful or prejudiced, and so on. He will do this one by one, causing us to challenge each one of our sinful attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors over time. If we continue to pray this prayer (or others like it) and follow the LORD’s guidance, one day the Holy Spirit will show us we’re healed of hatred.
Remember: If we ask for a good thing that’s in line with God’s Will, He will do it for us. That’s 1 John 5:14. Asking to be healed of hatred is a good thing in line with God’s Will.
(14) This is the confidence that we have in our relationship with God: If we ask for anything in agreement with his will, he listens to us.1 John 5:14 (CEB)
LORD, I know that hatred is against Your Will. I know that You created all people in Your image. If I hate any person or people, I hate someone You love and created in Your image. But I want to live in agreement, not opposition, with Your Will. So please look inside me and heal my heart of hatred. Please convict me in the Spirit if I’ve fallen to the sin of hatred. Please reveal all my prejudices, biases, and fears to me, because these become hatred if allowed to grow. And please make me grow in love and Piety, LORD, so that I can honor You by loving all others as Jesus taught us to. Amen.
Empower Me to Fight My Mind
Every action begins as a thought in the mind. Hateful actions start with hateful thoughts. We can’t control what thoughts arise in our mind, or when, but we can control what to do with them once they arise. We can reject a thought, rebuking it as sinful and casting it down. Or we can indulge the thought, continuing to think it over.
If we don’t cast down hateful thoughts as soon as they arise, then we’re indulging the thought and agreeing with it. If we indulge thoughts of hate, we’re allowing the demons of hatred to gain a foothold in our mind. If we allow them entry, they’ll strengthen their foothold until it becomes a demonic stronghold. Then we’ll become more and more hateful as the demons of hate corrupt us from the inside. At that point we would need deliverance ministry to expel the demons.
To avoid this crisis, we must cast down all demonic thoughts of hatred as soon as they arise. This takes the Virtue of Self-Discipline, and it also takes some help from the LORD if we struggle in this area. So here’s a prayer asking the LORD for help in opposing the devil in our thoughts.
LORD, I know that hatred is against Your Will. I know that You created all people in Your image. If I hate any person or people, I hate someone You love and created in Your image. But I want to live in agreement, not opposition, with Your Will. I seek to cut out all hateful thoughts from my mind, as I know even these thoughts are sinful in your eyes. And I know these sinful thoughts will turn into sinful actions of hate. But the devil and his demons oppose me in my mind. Grant me the strength to control my thoughts. Empower me to reject and cast down all sinful thoughts of demonic hatred as soon as they arise. Work with me Patiently as I fight this bitter struggle against my own mind. And please forgive me for the sins of any hateful thoughts. Amen.
Grant Me the Perfect Love that Drives out Fear
This prayer was first posted in Part 19: Fear. But since it’s a prayer against the fear that leads to hatred, it’s perfect for today’s post. It belongs here, so I’m re-posting it.
One of the worst effects of hatred is causing us to hate. Our fear of others who aren’t like us is a bad seed that grows up into hatred. Hatred, racism, prejudice, and so on all have their beginning in fear. This is why the devil often uses fear to sow divisions. We disobey our LORD Jesus if we allow ourselves to hate, because He commanded us to love one another. And if we disobey Him, we don’t love Him. If we love Him then we keep His commandments (John 14:15).
To fight hatred, which comes from fear, we need perfect love as mentioned in 1 John 4:18. Perfect love drives out all fear. So here’s a prayer asking for help with that.
LORD, I love You and want to follow Your commandments for the rest of my days. I know You commanded us to love all our brothers and sisters, who are all made in God’s image. Please save my heart from hatred, LORD, by convicting me in the Spirit of any fear I may have for others who are different. Please grant me the perfect love, LORD, so that it will drive all fear of others out of my Spirit for good. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Again, there are so many ways to pray against any vice. I could go on and on and on. Everyone is always welcome to leave a comment with prayers of their own.
But once we’re done praying, it’s time to act (in the physical world). Let’s move on to that now.
Fighting the Vice
To fight a vice, we must change our behavior and be consistent about that. We can’t do something new a few times and stop there. We must stick with our new ways, turning our back on our old sins. This consistency is how we build up a habit. It’s also how we cultivate and strengthen a Virtue, which are the “antidotes” to vice.
So how can we do that to fight hatred? Let’s look at a few practical ideas. And remember: These are only a start! The possibilities are endless. I welcome any comments with good ideas about this.
Here are just a few ideas of how we can fight the vice of hatred in our own lives:
- Find a way to interact with people of a group you hate. Talk to them, listen to them. Spend some time with them.
- Challenge any and all hateful beliefs by reading books and doing research, starting with sources opposed to our already-established views
- Seek counseling, both Spiritual and secular. Hatred is often the sign of emotional damage or disorders, and almost always a sign that a person actually hates themselves. A person must be able to love themselves first if they want to be able to love others.
- And other ideas you can think of!
The first and best way to heal from hatred is to spend time getting to know people of the group (race, class, etc.) we have sinful hate for. People are people, and if we spend any amount of time working together, living nearby each other, or eating meals together, etc., our differences will usually fall away and our shared humanity will bring us together.
Going to something like a neighborhood cookout is a good idea, or inviting everyone in the neighborhood to our cookout. A shared meal can break down the barriers between people. Other good ideas include joining up with a volunteer group. Working together with someone toward a common cause, a good goal, goes a long way toward bringing people together.
Whatever it is, as long as we find a way to spend time with the people we have sinful hatred for, we will lose our hatred of them as we spend time together and work together, as long as we have a genuine desire to heal our hatred.
Next, besides having the Self-Discipline to control our thoughts, there are other ways we can fight sinful thoughts of hate in our mind. If we have hateful beliefs (some of which we may have inherited from parents, etc.), a little research should show us the falsity of those. But we have to be honest when we research.
We have to start with sources (books, websites, etc.) from the opposing point of view. If we have hateful beliefs about some group, reading their perspective and how they look at things can help us see our beliefs from another angle. As we continue to read, the falsity of our hateful beliefs (which are always illogical anyway) will be revealed. We won’t be able to hold those beliefs anymore, even if they were inherited, once we see the lack of logic behind them. As we keep reading, we will also grow in Empathy for the other and their situation, and Empathy will drive out hatred from our heart.
Last, if we have hatred in our heart, we may very well need counseling, both secular and otherwise. Hatred is often a symptom of emotional damage, trauma, and disorders stemming from childhood. This counseling could be Spiritual, or it could be secular. It could be a mix of both, even. But some sort of healing and treatment is important.
How can we love others if we don’t love ourselves first? If we don’t love ourselves, we don’t know how to love others. Hatred is a surface-level symptom of us hating ourselves. If we hate ourselves, it will come out through projection as we turn our own inner hatred outwards toward others. To stop that sinful evil, treat hatred as a symptom of inner emotional problems and insecurities. Treat that symptom—get counseling. Once we start to truly love ourselves, our hatred toward others will begin to fade. Especially if we also add in other activities for healing from hatred.
Jesus Is for Everyone
The Bible makes it very clear in both Testaments: Hatred is against God’s Will. Besides the passages I cited today, there are full dozens more. And the lesson to learn is: God is love. Hatred is not of God, which leaves only one other option for what it can be. Hatred is demonic, satanic.
All humans were created in God’s Divine image. If we hate someone, we hate someone God loves who He created in His image. All humans are loved by God, equally. God so loved the world that He sent His only Son to die for us, that we can be Saved. God’s love is for everybody. God’s merciful Salvation is for everybody. Jesus is Lord of all, not Lord of only those who look like us. Jesus is for everyone.
And Jesus’ final instructions to us, those who would follow Him, were to love all others as we love God and ourselves. Hatred has no place in our Christianity. Our beliefs leave no room for hatred. It’s very simple: We honestly cannot follow Jesus’ teachings and hate others at the same time.
The vice of hatred is a dangerous vice that takes us out of agreement with the LORD God. And if we’re out of agreement with the LORD, we’re in agreement with the devil. Cast down hatred and REPENT! of it today!! God is love! Reject and rebuke demonic hatred, and love ourselves and others as Jesus taught us.
Always remember: “You love God as much as the person you love the least.”
So that’s that. Well, after twenty four posts covering a good number of Virtues and vices, the Victory in Virtue series will be coming to a close for now. Although I may revisit the series in the future if I think of more topics to cover, for now I’ve written everything I can think of to cover. So for next week’s post, I will write a recap post taking a look back at the series. Subscribe using the link below so you don’t miss it!
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Until next time, be strong and do good!
Your new best friend in Christ,
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