Hatred Is Easy, Prayer is Hard

by Bryant Evans on September 16, 2012

I confess. I am pretty angry at the way things are going in the world. People who reject Jesus as the Son of God are violently attacking people and places in the name of a false prophet. Representatives of the country that assures my (and their) freedom to worship are brutalized and murdered. Yes, I am angry. The challenge for me is to avoid stepping downward from anger to madness and hatred. It is not easy.

God filled man with emotions which run from ecstasy to melancholy to despair and grief and then to hatred and rage. Joy and ecstasy come only when a life is brought under the full control and submission to Jesus. It requires effort to purge the old life out and bring in the new. Part of the process, according to Paul is the mortification of sin in our lives (Colossians 3:5). That is hard but required if we are to find complete and pure joy.

Conversely, hatred is easy. All that is required to hate is to release the restraint on ourselves and allow nature to take its course. Suspend righteous judgment (Matthew 7:1-5), ignore the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12) and swirl deeper into rage. It really is not hard at all. For me, a few minutes watching videos from the Middle East is all it would take. But there is something better.

A Way Better Than Hatred

The Bible instructs us to pray for those in authority so that we might have a peaceable life. But the same text includes a broad admonition to make prayers for “all people.”  The reason? So that  “we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (2 Timothy 2:1-4). To pray for our enemies is hard but we are so instructed (Matthew 5:44). Likewise, we are instructed to leave vengeance to God (Deuteronomy 32:35; Psalm 149:4-9).

Jesus taught that we are to seek better and higher motives. Paul encouraged disciples then, and now, to focus on good thoughts:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)

When one considers that Paul wrote those words while facing execution it becomes all the more remarkable that he could even suggest such a focus. Paul had every reason to be angry with Rome and with the Jews for putting him in chains. Paul struggled with hatred just like the rest of us.

The people assaulting our national interests are to be pitied. They are hopelessly lost and condemned to face the wrath of a God they barely know. They have been deceived by their spiritual leaders, robbed and impoverished by their secular leaders and enraged by their own uncontrolled madness. While I hope they will be punished in this life,  I cannot bring myself to cheer for their eternal damnation. Such is a penalty too horrible to consider.

Pray people, pray! Pray often and continuously for the salvation of all men, even the maddened protesters. Jesus rules and God will hear our prayers.

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{ 1 comment }

Colin Lambert September 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm

What you said is so true. It is easy to be overwhelmed by it all. Jesus tells us that lawlessness will increase in these last times. It is so easy be like Don Quixote (spelling?) who used to chase after windmills thinking that they were dragons. Focus on what Christ wants me and us to do personally is the key thing. I’m not responsible for the choices of what others allow. For example abortion. I could chase after it and be in the face of legislators. I have even done that. But Jesus tells me to be salt and light in the sphere of influence that He directs. God grant that I and we can do this. I’d rather do one thing well in the name of Christ that to spread my salt on a thousand meals where it can’t be tasted. Or in the words of that great star trecker Bilbo Baggins who said that he felt like he had been spread like too little butter on too much bread.

Sorry for the imagery and the poetic, but hey it is an attempt at it.

Colin Lambert

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