Monday, November 23, 2009

My Battle With Hatred

Isn't it funny the way we will use all sorts of euphemisms for hatred, but not actually admit to hatred itself? We will say things like, "I admit I can't get along with John, but it's not like I hate him or anything." In this statement, I think it is clear that the act of hatred is set apart as something especially heinous, which is why we always seem to just stop short of it. In the past six months, I have noticed that I have made similar statements about a particular individual, always just stopping short of hatred. First, it was, "I don't like ______, but it's not like I hate them or anything." Then it progressed to "I can't stand to be in the same room with ______, but it's not like I hate them or anything." I would think thoughts such as, "I really would love it if ______ moved to a different time zone. But at least I don't hate this person," and "Hypothetically speaking, if ______ died, I would not be very sad. But it's not like I would dance on their grave or anything."

I finally ran out of things that just fell short of hatred, because I had to face the fact that I am indeed harboring hatred in my heart for this person.I finally ran out of things that just fell short of hatred, because I had to face the fact that I am indeed harboring hatred in my heart for this person. The realization that I hate someone is horrifying. After all, I spent so much time and energy illustrating my extreme dislike for this individual while maintaining all the while that I had not crossed the line into hatred. To acknowledge that I had indeed crossed that line is so shameful and embarrassing. God knew this whole time I was in sin, but when I first figured it out, I simply couldn't face Him. I did not pray for a few weeks because I was so ashamed of my sin. The best I could do was eek out a feeble, "God help me; I don't know what to say to You, so I'm going to ask that You speak to me instead." I tried to read Scripture, but it was easier to distract myself from my guilt by keeping busy with my daily responsibilities.

The hardest part for me to get past is the idea that I simply hate this person for no apparent reason. Usually, we tend to hate people who have done something terrible to us, especially if that involves making us angry in some way. But this person never did anything to sin against me. I just hate this person, and the more I hate, the angrier I become. Without giving away too much detail, I found myself in a position where I felt this person was, for lack of a better term, a "phony." I hate phonies. (Funny how I can confess that one with great ease - you see, they deserve to be hated for their insincerity, and for this reason, my hatred of them almost seems noble in my eyes.) But to make matters worse, I am the only person who apparently recognizes that this person is a total phony. Everyone around me seems to be saying, "Isn't so-and-so great? Oh praise God for so-and-so!" If I may be completely transparent with my readers, when I hear talk like this, I want to vomit.

From this point on, I began to view every little thing this person said or did through a self-righteous lens. And because I was viewing them this way, I became angrier and angrier over the situation. Finally, I had to remove myself from the environment in which I came into contact with this person. The Bible tells us to flee temptation, and just being exposed to this individual was tempting me to hate. Once I removed myself from that temptation, I was able to begin the process of dealing with my heart.

God has been gracious to show me other people whom "I strongly dislike, but it's not like I hate them or anything."It has not been easy so far. I still think, "Wouldn't it be great if they just dropped dead? Then I wouldn't have to worry about being friendly to them, even though I think they're a big fat phony!" But at least now I can clearly see how sinful my heart is. I have not repented, but God has been gracious to show me other people whom "I strongly dislike, but it's not like I hate them or anything." All in all, I would say I'm now up to six people or so for whom I feel that "If we never spoke again, it would be no great loss for me, but it's not like I hate them or anything."

It stinks being in this season. I have come out and confessed everything to a few trusted people in my church, and although this is important, I still don't have the godly sorrow I know I need for real repentance. I like not talking to certain people. I like having self-righteous reasons not to talk to them. This is why I cannot help myself out of this situation. I need to rely on God and God alone to restore me.

Yesterday, I prayed aloud these scriptures:
He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:9-12)

A faithful brother offered me this response:
I will bear the indignation of the LORD,
Because I have sinned against Him,
Until He pleads my case
And executes justice for me.
He will bring me forth to the light;
I will see His righteousness. (Micah 7:9)

I will bear God's indignation for my sin. He will leave me in this pit until He pleads my case, has mercy upon me, and grants me the gift of repentance that will bring forth the light that will pull me out of the darkness of hatred. Praise God for His faithfulness! I wait expectantly for His saving grace.

3 comments:

Betsy Markman said...

Bless you for your brutal honesty with yourself, and with us about yourself. I need to do some heart searching about my own sin of bitterness, and honestly seek out the hatred that might be underneath it. It's a sobering thought.

Those verses in Micah are among my favorites!

If you find yourself tempted to substitute fleshy penance for godly repentance, drop by and re-read "Penance vs Repentance." It's one I need to re-read sometimes myself! http://justanotherclaypot.blogspot.com/2009/03/penance-versus-repentance.html
Hugs to you from another sinner!

Kurt Michaelson said...

Jen, I certainly hope that your transparency and honesty will help break down the walls that have been built by others, who are guilty of the same or another type of sin.

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.