The Poison of Hate
Robert Wurtz II
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
(Matthew 24:10–12 KJV)
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (Jude 20, 21)
It seems as though the enemy has two favorite poisons with which he desires to destroy the human race, the first is pride and the second is hate. We know that Satan is a liar and a murderer. But we could argue that lying and murdering are outworkings of a being who is motivated by pride and hate. Pride led to his downfall and hate has consumed him ever since.
In 2014, I wrote an article dealing with the impact of “iniquity” (lawlessness) on society. I said at the time that “We live in a time when it is becoming politically incorrect to enforce law and order in society. Strait out of the pages of the limited wars of Korea and Vietnam, we are fastly moving towards a philosophy of limited law enforcement. That is, in order to prevent a wider escalation of ‘conflict,’ law enforcement agencies are reluctant to bring criminal combatants into compliance with basic civilized behavior. The result is a growing disorder and lawlessness that is spreading all over the nation.” It seemed, at the time, that anarchy was in vogue.
Generally speaking, lawlessness will provoke law-abiding people to hate, and enforcing law will cause lawless people to hate. Keep that clear. Jesus loved righteousness and hated iniquity or lawlessness (Heb. 1:9). Satan clearly hates righteousness and loves iniquity (lawlessness). How do these things impact us? The Lord Jesus told us in this sobering prophecy; And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold (Matthew 24:12). Consider the implications of that. What happens when Christians are daily vexed and tormented (as was Lot when he lived in Sodom)? What happens when there is pushback against lawlessness, laws are enforced, and the lawless are provoked? Answer: A world of hate and hostility develops.
Partakers of Hatred
Every day a battle rages in our society and in the media. We see it in the daily briefings of COVID-19 on the local, state, and federal levels. When two parties or opposing groups are constantly fighting each other and neither one is backing down it can only lead to extreme hatred. Let me say this with the power of ten megaphones in my hands, that we, as Christians, CANNOT be partakers of such back and forth fighting and hatred. We have to be above these things.
What sense does it make to talk about loving people and praying for people when the truth is we are poisoned by hatred for reporters in the media or the president himself? If we can’t speak of people with general respect, how can we possibly claim to love them? Love our enemies? Who are we fooling? Certainly not God. We need level heads these days that can navigate through the battles that are raging in society without being decimated by the firey hatred coming from both sides.
Can you and I see the strategy of the enemy? He doesn’t care about who is right or wrong he only cares about fostering a spirit of hatred. He is loading the opposing forces with all kinds of fiery darts to launch at each other. He is the ultimate sower of discord and hate (Proverbs 6:19). He’s like the troublemakers who get out their cell phones and record a street fight for youtube after provoking the two parties to fight each other.
“Hell-ivision” in a Culture of Hate
What does that mean? Anger and hate are contagious. Paul said it differently, “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33). When you and I are watching all that is going on in the world through the lens of secular television or secular media, we are almost certainly in “bad company.” I am convinced that Hollywood and the secular and social media are more dangerous to Christians than we will ever know. In years past, we emphasized the bankrupt morality displayed on the screen or the internet, but today we have an even greater danger. Instead of being provoked to lust, we are being poisoned by unbridled anger and hate. Lust is bad enough, but hatred surely puts our souls in danger of hellfire (1 John 3:15).
In the 1960s and 70s, the old-time preachers got mocked for referring to the TV as “hell-ivision.” These men understood the influence that TV had on believers and non-believers alike. Generations later, people think nothing of watching TV programming that comes straight out of hell. I sometimes say, “Tell me what you’re watching (on television) and I’ll tell you what and who you love and hate.” Are Christians supposed to be hating people? Why sit around and poison ourselves with hatred? Moreover, if a person doesn’t filter what they partake of on TV or the Internet, they will end up hating God, the Bible, and anyone who even remotely believes in both. How can anyone have a steady diet of evil and not end up loving iniquity and hating righteousness? That is the power of subjecting yourself to the constant bombardment of Satan through these types of things.
Paul told the Corinthians, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12 NKJV). Can we say that if we are watching secular TV or following social media? Are we coming under the power of their influence? Are we being influenced to hate people? I am sorely concerned that professing Christians are sitting around and partaking of this stuff and being poisoned with anger and hate. One of the greatest pieces of evidence that a person is hated is that people put the worst possible construction on the things they do. Love puts the best construction on events (1 Cor. 13:5). I sometimes say that secular TV is influencing us to hate people they want us to hate and love people they want us to love.
Surviving in an Age of Hate
Jude first tells us that we need to build up ourselves in our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. This means we are to pray no matter how our circumstances press against us. Lot didn’t seem to do a whole Lot of praying in Sodom; but we cannot afford to allow our love to wax cold under the deluge of madness and hatred that is progressing in our times. We must pray for our enemies and for clarity of mind. Don’t pray for clarity and then go fill the mind with more madness. Come out from among them and be separate.
Second, when the enemy opens up a volley of fiery hate and offenses against our soul we must take up the shield of faith as Paul describes in Ephesians 6. This is a spiritual battle. This is a war between principalities and powers. It is merely playing out in the physical realm. This is why we need to take up that shield of faith. What does that mean? We must believe what God has said about anger and hatred. Our faith in God’s counsel in regard to hatred and anger will shield us from the enemies’ fiery darts. As Paul told Titus, “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men” (Titus 3:1–2 NKJV).
Thirdly, Jude says, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. We have to keep our eyes focused on eternity. We have to look unto Jesus the author and the finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame. Jesus was full of love and compassion and He loved to the very end. This is our test. Can we love like that? Surely we can if we will allow God to love through us. The love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). We can allow that love to flow like a river from our bellies.
Finally, sandwiched in the middle of these two admonitions we have this profound directive, Keep yourselves in the love of God. This is the objective. We have to do it. None can do it for us. We have to make that determination. God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. We have to remember where God brought us from and look upon our enemies through eyes of compassion.
When you don’t feel like loving, love anyway. Pray until you can love. Rebuke the thoughts that would come into your mind to challenge your love. Rebuke hateful thoughts. Most people are not nearly as witty as they think they are when they form criticism in their minds; they are thoughts from demonic forces and not your own. Keep that in mind the next time some sharp, cutting, put-down comes into your mind about your enemy or someone you are angry at.
In Matthew 24:10-12, Jesus didn’t say that the love of all people would wax cold, but the love of many. May we move in a determination in this crisis, evil and hate-filled hour, that we will be numbered among the few that stoked a fiery love rather than fiery hate. No one can do it for us. in the same way that we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, Jude admonishes us, Keep yourselves in the love of God.