Jesus invites us into a fearless, moral inventory that will leave us facing the inevitable conclusion that we need God’s help and grace. Life in God’s Kingdom will touch every area of our inner world. The Beatitudes gave an attitudinal framework in which God’s Law could be received.
Broken, humble, empty people find a loving Father who goes into the enclosure of the snarling, frothing beast and brings back the children’s Frisbee. But, love is not always so quaint and pretty.
Jesus proceeds to add His commentary to the most familiar moral code. Life in God’s Kingdom will require a new way of looking at humanity’s self-measurement. We will not survive the future based on business-as-usual. We must be taken apart before we can be put back together. We must unlearn selfish love and self-interest before we can live in God’s Love.
One of those politically incorrect attitudes is hatred. Children are taught that ‘hate’ is a strong word and that they should say ‘it’s not what I prefer’ or ‘I am not pleased with this’. The grade one student does not hate broccoli; it’s just a vegetable that he has not acquired a taste for. He will not choose broccoli as a preference. Uh-huh… Johnny hates broccoli!
This is the definition of hate: [i]
- Dis-like intensely; feel antipathy or aversion towards; the emotion of intense dislike; a feeling of dislike so strong that it demands action
Often we assume that love and hatred are opposites. But are they? You can hate without loving, but you cannot love without hating something. To love your spouse you will grow in your opposition to adultery. Love requires us to oppose and dislike its lack. Love leads to action.
We get ourselves into trouble when we do not focus hatred appropriately. We need to examine the loopholes we have given to the matter of hating.
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
I have personally known several murderers. Everyday, they live with reminders and restrictions resulting from their wrongful action. They are definitely subject to judgment. In some nations, they pay for their crime by being put to death.
So what difference is there between you and them? It may surprise you to find out that you could reach a point where your hatred leads you to murder. Jesus says that your anger towards someone will cause God to evaluate and scrutinize you. A bad attitude of diminishing the worth of others can lead you into hell.
The term ‘Raca’ was used to tell someone that they are worthless. How are your feelings toward the people that get under your skin? God is paying close attention to your attitude. You can choose to hate a person or you can hate the enemy of your soul who would have you destroy them in your mind.