A Prayer about the Stewardship of Hatred
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. 1 John 3:14-15
Merciful Father, there are a few things for which I regularly express hatred. I hate stringy canned asparagus. I hate bumper-to-bumper traffic going in my direction. I hate high humidity days when I want to jog. I hate pulling out a nearly empty milk carton from the refrigerator when I’m primed for a big bowl of cereal. I hate loud talking in a quiet restaurant.
But this portion of your Word puts all of my hating into perspective. I’m sobered by this warning about the hatred of people—especially hating my brothers and sisters in Christ. Father, who are the people towards whom I having feelings of hatred? Though I may have never spoken the violent words, “I hate you!”, to their face, nevertheless I’ve committed homicide in my heart. I’ve relished their reversals, dreamed of their demise, longed for their languishing. This isn’t okay.
Father, some of us carry wounds that won’t easily be healed. Big disappointments and painful betrayals are all too common in life, even by the hands and words of brothers and sisters in Christ. But when our hurt grows to retaliatory anger and our anger morphs into spiteful hatred, arrest our hearts, Lord. Settle and center us on Jesus. Let us understand the high price of hatred and grieve the ways it contradicts the gospel of your grace.
Vengeance belongs to you, not us, Father. Even as you are a God of mercy, you are also a God of justice. We can trust you for both. You do all things well, in your timing, for your glory and for our good. Keep us patient.
Father, we praise you for bringing us from death to life in Jesus. Jesus, we worship you for becoming the hater and the hated on the cross for us. Holy Spirit, we surrender to your work in our hearts. Cause us to hate evil and our own sin more than we hate anything else in the world. Continue to pour the love of God into our hearts. So very Amen, we pray, we longing and expectant hearts.