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Hiding hatred makes you a liar.

Monday 11 December

Proverbs 10:18
This is one of those verses that makes you sit up. On the face of it, it might seem to be a very good thing to hide hatred because hatred is an ugly and destructive experience. How would we ever cope if everyone was totally honest and open about the people and things they hate? I think the point being made is that if you do hate someone or something then acting as if you love them, or are not bothered, gives a completely false impression. You are misleading everyone in a dangerous way. You are effectively living a lie.

So what should we do when we are overcome by hatred? The implication is that we shouldn’t bottle it up because, in doing so, we are in danger of doing ourselves serious damage. We may fall into depression or become totally negative and cynical in our attitude to others. While the hatred is still burning away inside of us it cannot fail to
do damage.

This surely means that, since we don’t want to be liars, we need to deal with anything that is stirring up hatred in us. The answer is definitely love but I recognise that that is much more easily said than done. Indeed, if you are feeling anger about someone for the way in which they have mistreated you, the last thing on your mind is likely to be love. However, ultimately, love is the only way.

I suggest that if you are aware of someone whom you deeply dislike - or even hate - pray about it, asking God for the desire and strength to love them. It would be good if you could share your feelings with a trusted friend. God doesn’t ask us to love evil. If someone has done us real wrong, then God stands with us in hating the harm they have done. But he does call on us to love the person, and to be willing to forgive them.

None of this is easy, but the much harder and more destructive path is to bottle up our hatreds and end up living a lie. God calls us to the tough path of love and promises to walk with us every step of the way.

Have you ever bottled up your anger or hatred towards another person? What effect did that have on you – and what do
you think you could have done differently?

Lord God, help me always to be loving towards other people. Amen

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