There is undoubtedly a lot of anger and hatred in the world, especially in the last several months. There has always been hatred throughout history, since the beginning of the records in the Bible, but the types of hatred we are seeing today are tough to comprehend. Could we have ever guessed that choosing or not choosing to wear a mask, for example, would lead someone to absolute hatred to the point of violence and death toward the other individual? Does that not make us angry when we hear something like that? Do we hate to hear something like that?
When we listen to all the different restrictions enforced by the US governors in their states or measures in different counties as to what is banned and what is allowed, and when we see how absolutely inconsistent those restrictions are as if the virus has boundaries, it makes us angry, doesn’t it? And we can see that oftentimes, these restrictions have little to do with the pandemic itself, or else the whole world would be following a unified approach. This shows that the world does not know what to do. Do we also hate to hear about all these inconsistencies? Are we sick and tired of hearing over and over again about the coronavirus and the different massive governmental responses, perhaps even reading this Editorial or reading the Current Events each week? Does it make us angry when all we seem to be reading or hearing about is this upsetting and negative news, and are we not just anxiously waiting for something good to happen?
Lately, it has seemed like that, but we must not close our eyes as to what is going on. Otherwise, we would be unprofitable servants who refuse to pay attention and to watch. We in the Church of God know that even the current pandemic and man’s reaction to it are part of prophesied events. We also know what’s just ahead of us, as the observance of God’s annual fall Feast Days approach. We can expect trials and obstacles to happen to us, seemingly designed to prevent us from keeping God’s Holy Days. The Church has clearly been affected, and for some, plans are still not absolutely definitive when it comes to where they will be able to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. We are all being tested to see where our faith lies. With God, EVERYTHING is possible, and we need to trust that HE will make His Will known to each and every one of us (compare Matthew 19:26, Proverbs 3:5-6).
There is nothing wrong to feel hatred and anger with the terrible things that are going on all around us. Even God hates them, and He lists seven specific things in Proverbs 6:16-19, describing the conduct of the arrogant, liars, killers, schemers, evildoers, false witnesses and of those who sow discord in the Church. What God hates is what we ought to hate. We shouldn’t hate somebody, but we should hate the evil that the person does. We should hate what is sinful, because God hates that also. It has been correctly said that God hates the sin, but loves the sinner. He wants the sinner to repent and cease from sinning. That should be our attitude as well. This also teaches us self-control—how we are supposed to control hatred.
We should know what hatred or anger toward a person can do. That is why self-control is very important. It is very easy to get angry and feel hatred towards other people, with everything that is going on right now and especially if someone has done evil towards us. However, God tells us to love one another; love our enemies and to do good to those who hate us; and to love God’s Law, even if we are hated for it, and if we’re not already hated by the world for it, we will be (compare Matthew 10:16-22). This shouldn’t be a surprise. We should expect this if we stand up for God’s Truth.
If we struggle at times with the wrong kind of hatred, remember that God is perfect and He can change our attitudes and our way of thinking in ways that are humanly impossible to explain. We continue to do what we need to do, and when things seem humanly impossible, remember that God is the One who makes ALL things possible. And remember also, God will not allow a temptation or trial to overtake us which would be impossible for us to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). Knowing this, we shouldn’t have anything to worry about or to fear. This, in turn, is how we can have our “hatred” under control. If we do our part, God will guide and provide for us as He sees fit.