Tears puddled upon my Bible as I read 1 John 4:7: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
“I don’t hate anyone — I strongly dislike!” I said to God. “They deserve to be hated for the terrible things they’ve done.”
Then my love for God moved me to sorrow, and God began changing my heart. The God of the universe loves me — and you — unconditionally. Who are we to withhold love from others? I knew what I had to do. John 14:15 clearly explains, If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. Loving God means obeying Him. And that means loving all people — even the ones who treat us badly.
But I still wondered. Is dumping a wrong attitude possible?
Yes. For the believer, there is power to overcome all sin: By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life (2 Peter 1:3). God has given us everything we need to escape hate.
Maybe you have experienced:
• betrayal of a spouse or best friend
• devastating gossip
• jealousy that led to hate
• a loved one taken or evil that prevailed over justice
These are horrific experiences and God does not overlook evil. God also knows hate is a toxic emotion. For the sake of our health, we must diffuse it.
To love people means that we don’t wish them any harm. We don’t rejoice when they suffer pain or misfortune, and we are not rude to them. God showed me that the real enemy is Satan who is the mastermind of all evil in this world. Ephesians 6:12 tells us Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. We can transfer our hate to Satan — where it belongs.
After God opened my eyes, my hateful thoughts became less frequent, and over time the hate dissolved completely. There is no evidence that God changed the mean people’s hearts.
But God changed me.
Adapted from, “Shining Through the Psalms,” by Deborah Presnell. 2018. Available on Amazon.