Hateth…. Surely you don’t “hate” anyone, right? Well, that’s what I thought too (with the exception of the one I try really hard not to despise). But then I had to teach Sunday school.
I say “had to” because it was Mother’s Day and I almost “called out,” but that still small voice reminded me that the days I least want to go are the ones I really need to attend. So, I sat down with my Bible and all my study materials and got busy getting prepared.
I’m teaching out of 1 John and we were studying verses 9-11. I looked up a bunch of words in my ever trusty Strong’s, but the one that nailed me was, hateth. Sure, it began with the usual definition, hatred, detest so as to persecute…but then it added, “by extension to love less.”
Yeah, read that again. I had to.
To love less.
Then all these names started flooding in. All these people I was guilty of loving less…
Do You mean to tell me, Lord, that if I love these people less, if they’re “not my favorite,” I am hating them?
Show no partiality.
Nothing’s impossible with Me.
I began, then, to ponder, how do I not love them “less”?
I realized the first step was admitting that I did. And then, I’ve got to bring each and everyone of them, by name, to Him admitting my own guilt in humility and repentance.
Next, I suppose, I’ll have to ask Him to show me how to change my heart towards those people and see them as He does so I can love them like He does.
As I taught this to the ladies, I warned them that He would, undoubtedly, place those people in our paths this week. He’d give us opportunities to love them. And sure enough, He has.
He did so immediately in my own life including this very morning when I saw one of those on my “list.” I had a hugely snarky, salty, thought pass through my mind and I was instantly convicted of it and even shocked by how trivial and just plain stupid it was.
I don’t think I’d ever noticed the idiocy of the thoughts that sneak right on through when confronted with someone on my “list” and yet, He revealed that to me this very morning. Less than 24 hours after I taught the topic.
So, if you’re thinking you’re walking in the light, but you’ve got a “love less list,” understand that you’re hanging out in darkness (with the idea of suspension, according to Strong’s) and you’re in serious danger of being a snare for those around you.
I doubt you want that. I know I don’t!
Featured image: T. Chick McClure
Don’t be mean: Ashley Whitlatch
Studying: Alexander Michl
Pitcher plants: David Clode