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Since time began we’ve had to live with the poisonous practice of prejudice. Most wars in history have been started because of prejudice and hatred. The Holocaust came from this same poison, and so did slavery. In Genesis, Cain hated Abel, and down through the ages, hatred has never stopped. Hating people is hard work, and it kills everything good in life. Even various religious sects that have long been committed to loving their fellow man have lashed out in hatred because of allowing pride to fill their hearts.
You and I may not agree with everything another person believes or does, but we have no right to hate them because of it, and we certainly shouldn’t mistreat them. God never told us we have to approve of everyone’s beliefs, choices and actions, but we are commanded to love everyone. God hates sin, but He loves every sinner. He hates stubbornness and rebellion; He loves the person who’s stubborn and rebellious.
It’s hard to believe how many denominations and independent churches there are today, yet there’s only one Bible, one message. It’s evident that God has one thing to say to all people—a single plan for our conduct and relationship with Him. But over the years, because of our pride and narrow-mindedness, we’ve felt the need to develop a myriad of churches and church groups—even different versions of the Bible—to suit our own strict interpretations of what we believe the Bible says.
I’ve come to realize that none of us are 100 percent correct. Most of the things we fight over are petty. In Matthew 23:24, Jesus told the Pharisees that they strained out a gnat but swallowed a camel. They had gotten so picky about the little things, it prevented them from dealing with the things that were truly important. As long as we allow prejudice, hatred and disharmony to continue to have a place in our lives, we’ll be powerless to stop it. Only agreement and unity will bring the power to defeat prejudice. We must not allow the evil in this world to win the war. We can defeat hatred by allowing love to overcome our divisive attitudes toward others.
As a woman, I could look back and decide to hate all men because my female ancestors were treated unfairly. In the same way, Jews could spend their lives hating Germans because of Adolf Hitler. Americans could hate the Japanese because of their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. African-Americans could spend their lives hating white people because of slavery. The list could be endless if we went back to the beginning of time. The problems we have in our society today are not new; they’re just compounded because they’ve been around so long.
None of us can go back and undo the past. No matter how much we’d like to, it’s impossible to correct the great wrongs of history. Only God can redeem the past. Only God can bring the healing and restoration we need.
In my own life, I had to stop taking inventory of all I had lost and start counting up what I had left. In the beginning it didn’t seem like very much, but I made the choice to give it to God. I was amazed at what God could do with a few fragments. He redeemed the hurt and pain in my past and gave me a wonderful life that’s bearing good fruit. How sad it would’ve been if I had spent my life holding on to all that bitterness and unforgiveness. To continue to hate all men because some had abused me or hate all my family members because some had rejected me or hate all church people because some had betrayed me would rob me of living a happy and satisfying life today. Life is too short to spend it hating other people.
Examine yourself in this area…and be honest. Are you prejudiced? Are there areas in your life where you’ve allowed hatred to rule? Pray sincerely and ask God to remove those feelings. We all need to realize that we’re no better than anyone else—we’re all equal in God’s eyes. Every person is created by God, and He said that everything He made was good.
Remember, our enemy isn’t other people. The enemies we face are hatred, prejudice and the evil that causes them. We can’t waste our time and energy hating and fighting each other. We need to be determined to walk in love, waging war against hatred. Love is always the best way to fight back.