Ever Want to Get Even

Vengeance is tough stuff. It doesn’t feel right. Our natural reactions, in relationships, can get us in trouble. Jesus has a different standard for us. Unless Jesus has invaded our life, relationships can be pretty difficult at times. Real love in relationships can require supernatural courage. It can only happen after Jesus has changed us. Jesus demanded that the “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” world of natural and religious rules be completely changed.

Here is the big picture: God is love and that is not how He does things. It isn’t how He wants us to do things either. God’s goal for our lives is to love. And so, it takes supernatural courage to love the way God loves. But that is the way He wants us to love. That is what relationships in “His world” look like. This is an example of how to be a servant in relationships. The other alternative is to be a follower of how our “friends” do things.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” | Matthew 5:38-42

May we love the way God wants us to.

May our relationships be based on how He loves not the way that serves us and not others.

This is worth noting? Hatred is a strong negative reaction; a feeling toward someone considered an enemy, possibly indicating volatile hostility. Hatred of other people is a common response in human relations. Conflict, jealousy, and envy often result in animosity, separation, revenge, and even murder. Some Hebrew laws explicitly deal with hatred or favoritism.

The bottom line: Hatred of other people is frequently condemned, and love toward enemies is commanded by Jesus, our Master. Hatred characterizes the old age and the sinful life. Although Jesus cited the attitude of hating enemies, the OT does not give an explicit command like this. The Dead Sea Scrolls, however, indicate that the Essenes at Qumran cultivated hatred for enemies, but they discouraged retaliation. Jesus stressed loving our enemies and doing good to those who hate us.

Believers can experience or practice hatred in certain contexts. For example, they are to hate whatever opposes God. Not a malicious attitude, this hate reflects agreement with God’s opposition to evil. Although some of the psalms may sound vindictive, they leave punishment of the wicked to God’s prerogative.

Jesus’ disciples would have to hate their families to follow him. Hate here refers not to emotional hostility but to the conscious establishment of priorities. Hate means to love family less than one loves Jesus. Similarly, one should hate one’s personal life to gain eternal life.

Disciples can expect to be hated, just as Jesus was hated by the world. Hatred and persecution will also occur near the end of time. Jesus encouraged His disciples to rejoice at this opposition.

People sometimes hate God and His people. They are enemies of God who stubbornly rebel at His will and will be punished.

So, is there anything I should hate? Yes, I am to hate evil and wrongdoing. If I hate evil, God will anoint me with joy, just like he did Jesus.

Romans 12:9 (CSB) — 9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good.
Hebrews 1:9 (CSB) — 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; this is why God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of joy beyond your companions.
Revelation 2:6 (CSB) — 6 Yet you do have this: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Psalm 45:7 (CSB) — 7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of joy more than your companions.
Proverbs 8:13 (CSB) — 13 To fear the Master is to hate evil. I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech.
Exodus 18:21 (CSB) — 21 But you should select from all the people able men, God-fearing, trustworthy, and hating dishonest profit. Place them over the people as commanders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.
Psalm 31:6 (CSB) — 6 I hate those who are devoted to worthless idols, but I trust in the Master.
Psalm 97:10 (CSB) — 10 You who love the Master, hate evil! He protects the lives of his faithful ones; he rescues them from the power of the wicked.
Psalm 101:3 (CSB) — 3 I will not let anything worthless guide me. I hate the practice of transgression; it will not cling to me.
Psalm 119:104 (CSB) — 104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every false way.
Psalm 119:113 (CSB) — 113 I hate those who are double-minded, but I love your instruction.
Psalm 119:128 (CSB) — 128 I carefully follow all your precepts and hate every false way.
Psalm 119:163 (CSB) — 163 I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your instruction.
Psalm 139:21 (CSB) — 21 Master, don’t I hate those who hate you, and detest those who rebel against you?
Proverbs 13:5 (CSB) — 5 The righteous hate lying, but the wicked bring disgust and shame.
Proverbs 15:17 (CSB) — 17 Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened ox with hatred.
Amos 5:15 (CSB) — 15 Hate evil and love good; establish justice in the city gate. Perhaps the Master, the God of Armies, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

Michael Wilson

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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