Diagnosed with Hate
Robert Wurtz II
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah come. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers; lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:5-6)
And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:16-17)
In our previous article on this subject entitled Until John (the dawn of a better covenant) we explained that God’s dealings with man changed radically after the days of John the Baptist. God has determined from the beginning to make sons (and daughters) that are in His image and likeness. On a fundamental level, the areas are love and holiness. God is holy and God is love. Moreover, God loved the son before the foundation of the world. Going to the cross our Lord Jesus was desperate to prove one thing, “… the world must know that I love the Father and do as the Father has commanded me.” (John 14:31) Hebrews tells us that He is bringing many sons unto glory. He desires that we be in his image and personality in the way that Christ is. In this way Christ would not be ashamed to call us brethren. We talked about some initial steps and surveyed in part where God was going with things.We emphasized that of men born of women, none were greater than John the baptist. Nevertheless, the least in the Kingdom of Heaven would be greater than Him. The coming of the kingdom into the earth began with a simple command, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
Repentance: it’s all about turning
Repentance comes to us in two words, one meaning to change the mind and the other meaning to turn. We have covered this ground many times in the past so we will not explore deeper here. Luke 1:17 quotes the last verse of the Old Testament and applies it to John the Baptist; “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:6 emphasis added) This is an alteration of the verse in Luke 1:17b as he writes, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:16-17) A.T. Robertson, the renowned Greek scholar comments here, “Paternal love had died out. This is one of the first results of conversion, the revival of love in the home.” This will require love for God being placed first and this can only happen when the disobedient children turn to the wisdom of the just. This is a picture of the children that forsook the way of wisdom as spelled out in the Proverbs for a life of foolishness and rebellion. (Titus 3:3ff) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Respect for the parents is the first commandment with promise. Love for children is a natural love that all should possess unless they are thoroughly in the bond of iniquity.
The blame game
John the Baptist preached repentance as did Jesus and Paul. (Acts 26:19-21) Repentance is about taking personal responsibility for your actions and turning from anything that offends God – and to God. Malachi adds that when the Gospel is truly being preached it will turn the children and the fathers to each other, not on each other (as does modern psychology). Gail Burton Purath in her article, “The Blame Game” writes:
For years I was a “speck-finder”—a Pharisees who went beyond Scripture by creating impossible rules, regulations, and expectations for my parents. Modern psychology has helped us blame our parents for our insecurities, failures, weaknesses and sins. In fact, we usually get so busy evaluating, psychoanalyzing, and judging our parents that we overlook our own mistakes and sinful behavior toward our parents. (Emphasis hers) (Full Article Here)
This is a powerful admission. The dear woman admits blaming all of her troubles on her parents. I have heard ministers suggest that David was a bad father, when the truth is, we have no idea what kind of father he truly was. Parents often get blamed for their children’s rebellion. If it’s an issue, God would point it out. Eli, according to the scripture, was a bad father. Why? Because he restrained them not from doing evil in God’s House. He is an example of a man that put his children before God and it destroyed the entire family. The ministry was stripped from his progeny. This is where balance has to exist.
All must repent
God intends that all parties within a family repent and turn to their rightful state with both him and their family members. If this conversion does not happen, chaos will ensue. Though this was His perfect will, He knew that another reality would come about, so He used (uses) the rebellious for His purposes. That is to say, He causes the rebellion of family members to work for good to those that belong to God. “This is why conversion of children or parents becomes rather a source of discord, embittering the unconverted. Whence our Lord says, “Think not, that I am come to send peace on the earth. I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law: and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34) This would prove to be a prophecy fulfilled continually in the early persecutions of believers; even to the extent of other words of our Lord in Matthew 10:21, “the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child; and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.”“ (Barnes)
When lawlessness abounds
And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. (Matthew 24:12 NKJV)
Our passage describes a condition and its cause. The condition is that “the love of many will grow cold” and the cause is multiplied lawlessness. This only makes sense in that the whole Law can be reduced to two things; love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself. When we depart from God’s word we have departed from our instruction book on love. When people ignore God’s precepts or are ignorant of them, love starts to die. It is sad to me that many professed Christians and leaders don’t realize that it is not ‘ok’ to hate people or as the word is white-washed ‘greatly dislike’ folks. I tremble to say this, but the longer I live the more I believe that there will be more people in hell over their refusal to forgive and love people than any other thing. Many name the name of Christ and still have hate. I’m staggered by John the Revelator’s words that tell us that if we claim to love God and hate our brother we are a liar on top of being a murderer. (1 John 3:15, 1 John 4:20) As bad as idolatry is, fornication, drunkenness, etc. having hate in the heart is murderous. This is what Cain had in his heart when he murdered his own brother and is why the world was full of violence by Genesis 6.
The darkness of hate
But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:11)
“The word here used for hate would, in this connection, include both the mere absence of love, and positive hatred. It is designed to include the whole of that state of mind where there is not love for the brethren. People that walk in the dark see nothing in detail. What they do see is colorless and indistinct. He cannot see where he/she is or where they are headed. Why? The general meaning is, that he is ignorant of the whole nature of religion; or, in other words, love to the brethren is a central virtue in religion, and when a man has not that, his mind is entirely clouded on the whole subject, and he shows that he knows nothing of its nature. There is no virtue that is designed to be made more prominent in Christianity; and there is none that will throw its influence farther over a man’s life.” (Robertson) Is there any wonder why hate must be repented of as a first order of business in repentance? A person is spiritually blind when they harbor hate.
Without natural affection?
Sadly, we live in a time where parents are without natural affection for their own flesh and blood (2 Timothy 3:3, astorgos). At the same time we have children being disobedient to parents, even cursing them and in some cases physically abusing them. (2 Timothy 3:2) Under the Old Covenant a child that cursed their parents was subject to the death penalty. (Matthew 15:4, Mark 7:10 “let them die the death”) This tells us how serious God is about this hateful sin. It is awful to admit that today these attitudes are so common-place in society that you would think they were virtues. But God has called man to repent of these and other type sins and turn from them and to Him. He has called the fathers to turn their hearts to their children and the children to turn their hearts to their parents. If there is anyone in the world that deserves our love and respect it is our children and our parents; if for no other reason than the fact that they are our own flesh and blood. If we cannot turn and love here there is no way forward. Many try to avoid all this by making excuses and as a result have to come back over and over again because their victory never lasts.