If misery loves company, I think hatred is empowered by it. It gathers force as it is fed–by pride, betrayal, deception, and strength in numbers.
Samson used a God-given gift of strength for his own purposes–fueled by an untamed anger, it hurt others in the process.
11 So 3,000 men of Judah went down to get Samson at the cave in the rock of Etam. They said to Samson, “Don’t you realize the Philistines rule over us? What are you doing to us?” Judges 15:11 NLT.
The craftsmen in Ephesus become an angry mob because of paranoia and perceived threat. It halts me here–most of them didn’t even know why they were there.
32 Inside, the people were all shouting, some one thing and some another. Everything was in confusion. In fact, most of them didn’t even know why they were there. Acts 19:32 NLT.
The leading priests were delighted that Judas came to visit. And Judas began looking for ways to betray Jesus.
10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests to arrange to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted when they heard why he had come, and they promised to give him money. So he began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus. Mark 14:10-11 NLT.
I read a quote on Facebook from author Bob Goff, who wrote Love Does.
“If I had one last meal, I wouldn’t spend it with the person I knew would betray me – Love does.”
And I sat stumped over that–thinking of that last meal, reading today of Jesus with his disciples around him, knowing one would betray him. As he announces to them,
“I tell you the truth, one of you eating with me here will betray me.” Mark 14:18b NLT.
And then looks each one in the eyes, as each man–greatly distressed–inquires of the Lord, “Is it me?” One of those men knew that he would betray, and stood before the Lord deceiving. I think of what that moment was like–eye to eye, and both of them knowing the truth. Hate stands on one side. Love on the other.
I guess that’s what the power of hatred does, gives one fuel to do unthinkable acts just out of hatred for love.
Maybe sometimes people move forward in hate, but don’t really even know why they are there.
Jesus, thank you for showing me what love does. That while we were still sinners, you loved us. While I see the roots of hatred in situations in my own life, I pray that I might be grounded and rooted in You, to stand up in and for love. I’m glad that Your spirit lives in me, because on my own this would be impossible to do.