Hatred fills this earth! Race riots; political demonstrations; teen-age gang violence; religious bigotry, all during this “enlightened” age of science! Why is this happening?
Everywhere violence runs rampant. You read of violence with your every breakfast; you hear of it for every lunch; you see it for every dinner. And nowhere, it seems, is there any more violence than right in the midst of the greatest “Christian” nation on earth!
Why? What is wrong? Why so much hate in the world? Hate will get one a bigger following than love. Violence will attract more attention than peace. Intrigue makes a more exciting news headline than harmony; suspicion will attract more interest than confidence.
It all makes “good” newspaper copy, “good” television scrip, and “good” movie plots. Good? Well, no not actually; but these evil attributes, actions or implied actions draw more public attention. And it’s because all of it is so much like human nature.
Your Bible prophesied worldwide hatred and bigotry would grip the minds of men during this time! More than ever before, people seem prone, today, to bestial acts of violence! And why? Because suspicion, hatred, bigotry, violence, these are the steady diet of much of the world.
Paul was inspired to look beyond his time, down into ours. He portrayed the hostile, venomous attitudes of our peoples when he said, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves (selfish, self-centered as never before), covetous, (lusting, coveting envious of the things of others), boasters, proud, blasphemers (and a curse is always ready on the lips of almost everyone, today even among popular entertainment figures and government leaders), disobedient to parents, fierce, despisers of those that are good” (II Tim. 3:1-3). What a picture!
You read of worldwide violence constantly! You hear of depraved acts, humans tormenting, butchering, bludgeoning, stabbing, and murdering one another public figures accusing one another, husbands and wives hating each other! Don’t delude yourself into believing it’s no worse than before it is!
Jesus Christ said, “All these (the wars, famines, disease epidemics even now stalking this sin-sick world) are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you (you who are real Christians) up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended (become angry), and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another” (Matt. 24:8-10).
Those frightening prophecies are literally coming true, they are beginning to be fulfilled now in your lifetime!
Think for a moment! You live in a world of tensions, a world fraught with fear, a world of desperate living! It’s a time of insatiable desire to escape for most people, a time when most want to forget the frightening realities of our time! How do they forget?
By drifting off into ready-made fantasies; movie land madness; television terrorism; paper-back perversity; newspaper nausea! Remember, when you are relaxed before your television set or settled down to read your novel you just bought your guard is down. You want to relax to escape the realities and complexities of daily life for a time, to enjoy your moments of make-believe. The results? It’s all around you.
Does any crime make sense? Now, acts of wanton destruction against persons and property are increasing by leaps and bounds. Elderly people are brutally beaten to the ground by strong young teen-age hoodlums for the sheer brute pleasure of inflicting a beating on someone who was helpless before them.
Officials are finding jagged shards of broken bottles carefully placed in the sand, and then lightly covered over, at the bottom of little children’s slides in public parks. Are these just “laughable” children’s pranks? Is this just delinquency? Or is it an unreasoning, blind, venomous, wanton, willful, depraved murderous spirit of wanting to cut, maim, butcher, torment, and kill?
Do you believe the plain statements of your Creator and your God? Or are you one who will continue to “kid” yourself that this rotten world isn’t so bad after all and go right down with it into a cesspool of nightmarish destruction unimagined in your weirdest dreams?
Almighty God will soon send Jesus Christ to punish this world of evil-doers! And don’t kid yourself that that sounds “religious!” You’ll find little comfort in imagining yourself out of reality when the reality is all around you!
Like it or not, these are the facts of our hate-filled society! But hatred is not confined to the teen-age heart. It’s a disease of the human mind. It is in your very nature to hate! It is human nature to hate.
God made human beings what they are. He created man with a certain nature. We call it “human nature.” And it’s still the greatest enigma to philosophers, psychologists, sociologists. Man, they say is still “the biggest question mark.”
One psychiatrist said, before a group of fellow psychiatrists, “We all became interested in psychiatry because we knew we ourselves had some mental problems!”
But God, the Inventor of the human heart, reveals its true nature. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9.) The normal, natural, fleshly mind, the mind with which you were born, is desperately wicked, unless it has been changed by the nature of God!
Paul was inspired to write: “The carnal mind (the natural mind of every person) is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7)!
The normal, natural, carnal mind of every man and every woman, yes and of every child resents the things of God! The natural mind is always suspicious! It is envious, lustful, evil, resentful, and hateful! James wrote: “Do you think that the Scripture saith in vain, the spirit that dwells in us lusts to envy?” (James 4:5.)
Today, if you feel you’re basically a “Christian” kind of person you probably feel Christ really was the promised Messiah. You feel, whether or not you are a really zealous Christian, that Jesus Christ probably really was genuine. At least, if you’re like most people, you couldn’t call Christ a guilty evil-doer, could you?
But what about those who lived right with Jesus Christ? Who saw His miracles with their own eyes? What about those who lived in Jerusalem during the time of Christ’s merciless beating, His terrible night of kicks, curses, spitting, hatred, venomous accusations? What about those who had a part in it? What about the hate-filled mob that screamed out their animalistic bestiality, “kill Him! Crucify Him! Butcher Him!’?
God tells us not to bear them any malice, not to hate them, even as Christ Himself said from His tree of death “Father forgive them, they know not what they do!” But do you understand the reason they acted as they did? Do you recognize the exact, same identical nature in yourself?
It is there, recognized or not. Many of those same participants in the illegal death of Christ took their hatred, their firm belief that had rid the world of a terrible person, to their graves with them.
They somehow convinced themselves they should be terribly, indignantly, “righteously” angry at Christ! They convinced themselves He was a fake! They thought they “knew” they were uncovering, exposing, and punishing some great evil! Today, you know better! But most of them never did!
Remember that Jesus predicted this evil disease of hatred would grow worse and worse heightening in intensity until blind rage would characterize our day.
Paul said, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind (a deceitful, hateful, degenerate mind), to do those things which are not right; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers (delighting in scandal, in filth, evil, rumor), backbiter, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, (not true to their word), without natural affection (never willing to give the other fellow the benefit of the doubt), implacable (their minds unwilling to change, to admit new light, to see new facts, or accept the truth) unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Rom. 1:28-32).
This world is literally filled with human beings who fit this very description! And why not? It’s a description of human nature in the raw, human nature just the way it is!
Christ warned: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He prayed to His Father, “I have given them (His disciples, and true followers in any age) thy word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world (they’re living different lives, lives that have been changed to conform to the life Christ led. And Remember, He was accused of being a winebibber, and a gluttonous man) even as I am not of the world.”
Christ has said earlier, “If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19)!
Like it or not, admit it or not, the plain facts of your Bible are that hatred will be the lot of anyone who truly repents, and strives diligently to live the abundant, happy, joyous life Jesus Christ makes possible! Christ said, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin? (John 15:22).
The way of life of Christ’s true servants makes others angry! Because it’s natural to resent God, it’s also natural to resent the way of God, the way of life God reveals in His Word!
Today, as never before, people allow themselves to become consumed with purple-faced, blind, mind-chilling, vicious rage against the truth of God, and against His true servants! Many hate the wonderful laws of God.
As shocking as it sounds, Jesus said, “Think not I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword!” He meant personal strife, and as a direct result of religious persecution even among the closest of families
But can you imagine what would occur if a sociologist, or a “liberal” minded and quite “modern” minister would hear of a Church which actually believed severe persecution, yes, even between husband and wife, would come as a direct result of obeying Jesus Christ?
What if an enraged, bigoted, narrow-minded and prejudiced mate decided to try to force the other to give up the very precious truth of God’s Word? What if he or she threatened divorce unless Christ’s true practices, His true examples were forsaken? What if a mate said, “Choose! It’s either me, or your religion”?
Why, most people would try to “save the home,” instead of continuing to obey God! But what did Jesus say? “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in-law against her mother in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Matt. 10:34-37).
Does this mean that Jesus wants homes broken up by strife and religious persecution? Of course not! Jesus Christ doesn’t want any religious bigotry; He doesn’t want to see any intolerance, bias, prejudice, rancor, hatred in human hearts! But He will never compromise one iota with His precious truth! And neither will any person who is truly converted and is truly being led by the very Spirit of God, regardless of the trials and pressures that may come to bear.
Christ said, through Paul, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:18). “Blessed are the peacemakers, “said Jesus (Matt. 5:9).
Paul, inspired of God’s Holy Spirit, said, “If any brother hath a wife that believes not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away” (I Cor. 7:12). Paul urged non-believing persons not to leave someone who was earnestly trying to overcome his carnal nature, and to be more like Jesus Christ!
Paul went on to say, “And the woman which hath an husband that believes not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now they are holy” (I Cor. 7:13-14).
Paul was striving to keep homes intact! He was pleading with the Corinthians, even as we plead with people today, not to harbor religious intolerance and bigotry in their hearts, to protect the home, to keep homes, families, brothers and sisters together in tolerance, patience and love!
But, as Christ revealed, the carnal mind just can’t see it God’s way! And, as pitiful as it may seem, there are cases when nothing the converted mate can do seems to make any impression on someone whose mind is closed to God’s truth!
Just as Jesus did, and just as did Paul, we preach the Gospel of peace to the world. The Gospel of harmony, of happiness, of the way to abundant living! But, because human nature is no different today than it was in Jesus’ day, and because the natural human heart, is just as antagonistic against God’s precious truth today as ever, some few do begin to persecute! But remember, true Christians never do the persecuting. He only patiently receives it!
If you are a Christian, Jesus said you shall suffer persecution (John 16:33)!
What about your heart and mind? Do you fly off the handle easily? Do you become enraged at someone over racial, religious, political issues? Do you become so angry, so mad, so consumed with inflamed passion that you would literally resort to violence? Millions do!
And why? The answer is simple. It’s like a recipe for an evil concoction. Just take human nature, sprinkle in a few situations, add a lot of entertainment pressures; such as TV violence, radio jazz and noise; movie land make-believe; newspapers sensationalism; paperback perversity and sex; stir well, and violence will erupt!
Solomon wrote, “Surely the churning of milk brings forth butter, and the wringing of the nose brings forth blood: so the forcing of wrath brings forth strife” (Prov. 30:33)!
Do you snap at your children, argue with your employer, and yell at your spouse? Are you irritated much of the time, impatient in stress and trial, angry at situations that frustrate you? If you’re human, and if you lack the Spirit of God, you are!
It’s been said, “You are what you eat.” And your mind is what you think! And if your steady diet is one of violence, then you could become a violent person very easily! Probably not, you may think, but think again! Unless you’re changed, unless your very nature has been altered from a violent nature to a peaceful one, you may!
First of all, you need to have more of the attitude of God’s righteous servants of old, who “sighed and cried” because of the horrible atrocities, the terrible abomination that occurred around them! Read in Ezekiel 9, of those who, because of their attitude of abhorrence of the evils of this modern era, are to be spared from the apocalyptic destruction soon to befall this world!
You need to develop more of the attitude Jesus illustrated when He said, His true servants would be praying “Thy Kingdom Come” (Matt. 6:10)! In other words you need to begin to view this world has God views it, and not as you have always carelessly taken it for granted.
If you are not extremely careful what you see, how you think, what you hear, what you read, you may be establishing the same pattern of violence in your own life!
So think about it. Investigate your life. Be willing to be honest with yourself about yourself! God says, “Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope. Woe unto them that call evil good, (that was sure a “good” movie, you might have said!) and good evil; that put darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isa. 5:18-20).
Be willing to call a spade a spade! Label things what they are! And then, with the help of God, root out of your life the hatred, prejudice, bigotry, and murderous violence of this violent world!