Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
One of the most destructive attitudes for a Christian is hate. Think about it. How well can the saving light of Jesus Christ shine in a life that is totally covered in hatred, anger, or rage? And what picture of Christ does this type of person show to the unbelieving world?
Hate is a total breakdown in the Christlike attitude we're called to exhibit. But even in churches, it's not hard to find individuals boiling over with hostility. Where does it come from? One of the key reasons believers can be prone to hatred is the inability to forgive those who caused them an undeserved hurt.
Let's take a "hate test." Think about someone who hurt you in the past, and consider these three "heart checks."
First, if you hate someone, you cannot shake the memory. Does the scene play out in your mind over and over?
Second, if you hate someone, you cannot wish him or her well. Can you still wish the best for a person who's hurt you?
Third, if you hate someone, you want that person to hurt just as you hurt. Do you secretly desire this individual to experience the same pain you felt?
If these questions revealed any hidden animosity in your heart, don't leave your chair until you prayerfully meditate on Ephesians 4:31-32. Read the passage aloud. Personalize it into your prayer. And let God's Holy Spirit cleanse your heart of hatred by empowering you to forgive an old hurt.
Saturday, April 12, 2008