Monday June 1, 2020
Hatred and Apathy
1 John 3:11-24
11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
“Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him” (verse 15). Think about every face you scroll through and see on social media. Consider all the faces that flash across your screens as you watch the news and read articles. Who are the politicians you can’t stand to watch or listen to? Who are the news anchors and media personalities? Who are the ones you think are wrong? Are there family members or people in your life you’re estranged from? Are there particular people who make you uncomfortable to be around when shopping at Wal-Mart? We’re not neutral observers. We’re all impressionable. We make quick judgments. We are fallible people. Hatred isn’t always expressed in extreme and violent behavior. I think apathy is a form of hatred more widespread. In some ways, perhaps it’s worse. To not even care enough to act. Violent, hateful acts don’t go unseen as easily. They at least have a greater chance of being exposed and eliminated in the courts of justice or social media scrutiny although we’ve seen our systems of justice fail and our attention spans quickly move on time and again. Apathy is often hidden. No glaring signs to show its presence. Only God knows. Lord have mercy on us! Forgive us for our hatred and our apathy. Lord God, shine your burning light within us to expose and eliminate any seeds of unsanctified prejudice.
Jesus Christ is how we know what love is. There is no true definition of love outside of Jesus himself. We cannot love apart from him. In order to love, we must be in Christ. We should expect the world to be full of hatred because the world doesn’t know Jesus but we do! The church is the body where hatred and apathy should have no place to reside because we know and have received God’s love poured out on us by the blood of Jesus. We are called to love others with words and actions and truth. And yet, even in the church, hatred and apathy persist. Would you say to God, “As far as it depends on me, no more!” Not in myself and not in others, will I tolerate hatred or apathy. Come Lord Jesus. Make us instruments of your peace.
Prayer for Today
“Thou Eternal God, out of whose absolute power and infinite intelligence the whole universe has come into being, we humbly confess that we have not loved thee with our hearts, souls and minds, and we have not loved our neighbors as Christ loved us. We have all too often lived by our own selfish impulses rather than by the life of sacrificial love as revealed by Christ. We often give in order to receive. We love our friends and hate our enemies. We go the first mile but dare not travel the second. We forgive but dare not forget. And so as we look within ourselves, we are confronted with the appalling fact that the history of our lives is the history of an eternal revolt against you. But thou, O God, have mercy upon us. Forgive us for what we could have been but failed to be. Give us the intelligence to know your will. Give us the courage to do your will. Give us the devotion to love your will. In the name and spirit of Jesus, we pray. Amen.” —Martin Luther King Jr.
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