Bible Society of South Africa

To hate a little, to love a lot - 20 November 2023

By Ewald Schmidt

Bible text(s)

8He sets the time for love and the time for hate,

the time for war and the time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:8GNBOpen in Bible reader

Hate gets exposed as one of the fruits of our sinful nature in Galatians 5:20. Hate is shown towards people who are not like me. It leads to violence, it creates war. It destroys lives. Hate does not belong in our lives as children of God. And when you hate somebody, you become the first victim of that hate.

Today’s verse, however, states that there is a time to hate. How must we understand this contradiction in the Bible? We may not hate people. Jesus gave the command that we must even love our enemy in Matthew 5:43-44. “A time to hate” is reserved for the darkness of this world. We hate the evil and injustice of this world. This emotion of dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs brings us to act. We are empowered by the Spirit of God to take on that which is wrong and to change it for good.

There is a much stronger agent for change at work in this world. It is the love of God. God is love, we learn in 1 John 4:16. In Genesis 1:26, we learn that we were created in God’s image. We were made to love. Love brings life. God so loved us, that he sent his Son to save us (John 3:16).

With the fall of man in Genesis 3, we have lost the ability to love. We are, by nature, in love with ourselves, but it is difficult to love other people. However, when we follow Christ, he restores us to the original designer specifications. Love becomes the first fruit of the Holy Spirit visible in our lives (Galatians 5:22). It becomes our life mission to love other people. Jesus commanded us, at least twice, on the evening of the last supper: “A new command I give you: love one another …” (John 13:34) and “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) The love of Christ has made all the difference in our lives as believers. It motivates and empowers us to see the world through his eyes, and to strive to make it better. Love is not just a word, it requires action, it involves our hands and feet. It sees the hurt and brokenness around us; it tries to heal and make it better.

John said it so beautifully in 1 John 4:16b-17: “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: in this world we are like Jesus.” We are recreated through love. Now is the time to love. What difference can you make today by living Christ’s love in a visible and tangible way? Go do it!

Prayer: Lord, you are love. You have created me in your image and you are busy restoring my life, back to the way you designed me to be. Please come and heal my ability to love others, like you do. Fill me with your love, let it overflow to be a blessing to my neighbour. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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