Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
By Chris WittsTuesday 31 Dec 2019Morning Devotions with Chris Witts
I’m sure you’ve noticed it’s not possible to like everyone. Some people are so irritating, and you feel uneasy or annoyed in their presence. You have negative feelings toward them, and you’ve got to be careful lest it intensifies…
If someone is getting on your nerves, it can be difficult to see the bigger picture of why you’re angry or annoyed or what can be done about it. However, you should never let someone else limit your happiness or success. If you are finding yourself saying, I hate people, or that a specific person’s comments are getting to you, ask yourself why that is and what you can do about it to make sure you’re happy. Remember that you have control over your feelings.
Don’t let someone gain power over you just because they momentarily darken your day. You can only control your own feelings. You can’t change the other person. The reality is: Most people are a mix of good, bad and weird. All of us can be difficult to get on with. Why waste your energy clashing with your mother-in-law who may never think you’re good enough for her daughter. It’s better to conclude: I can be happy in spite of the way some people are. It does not have to be your job to take on the burden of all the problems of the world or its people.
So what happens when you feel hatred towards another human being? It does happen. We live in a world where people come and go and experience vastly different things in all avenues of life. If you hate someone, ask yourself, Why? Is it about who they are? What have they done to you? Or is it my fault? Hate is a strong and damaging emotion. It was Martin Luther King Jnr who famously said, “Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.”
Look for the good in all of those around you. Understand they still will have downsides, but do not judge them solely on their faults. Realise we each fall short and that, while we don’t have to settle for those around us who make us unhappy, we must also realise that we may only be looking for something negative as a reason to push others away.
If We Can Learn to Hate, We Can be Taught to Love
Nelson Mandela is remembered for his wonderful contribution to South Africa. In his book Long Walk to Freedom he said:
No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
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He was asked many times how he felt about the 27 years of imprisonment. Surely he was bitter, feeling resentment and hatred? He said, “Bitterness only hurts oneself. If you hate, you will give them your heart and mind. Don’t give those two things away”. The Bible’s teaching is very clear: We must stay away from hatred. We read in 1 John 4:7-21 (NIV):
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love…No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us…
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Here is a different operating system. Hatred is paid back with love—a revolutionary idea. Unfortunately our world is full of hate and revenge—payback. Jesus, who taught his followers to forgive one another, to place the needs of others before their own, and to rest in the knowledge that God is still in control and can bring good out of any situation.
Love and compassion toward others is to be life’s theme. Vengeance and revenge is to be left to God. We know from the Bible that God knows best and he knows how to handle all kinds of people—including your enemies. But don’t let yourself be the one who hates others. Instead pray God’s best blessing to be on them, and learn to forgive them, just as God has done for you.
Thank you dear God for protecting me and being my strength every day. But sometimes I feel the rage of hatred, and I know that’s not good. You want me to love, not hate. Lord, today I lift up my heart to you because it is filling with hatred that I can’t seem to control. There are times when I know I should let go of it, but it just keeps grabbing onto me. I know you are the only one strong enough to get me beyond this.
Help me go from hatred to forgiveness. Help me walk away from my hatred and temper it down so I can see the situation clearly. I no longer want to be clouded. I no longer want my decisions to be biased. Lord, I want to move on from this heaviness in my heart. Fill me with your light and let me see clear enough to come out of this fog of hatred and anger. Lord, be my everything at this moment so I can be the person you desire for me.