"I hate you!" are the words I've heard spoken from one believer in Christ to another recently. Really? Really! Those words sting and cut and divide the human heart faster than the sharpest sword. They tell the receiver they are worthless, as good as garbage. We wouldn't allow our children to say that to anyone, why is it okay that as an adult we can say those words to someone?
We all have difficult relationships. We all have attitudes, habits, characteristics that are unpleasant or sinful. In a healthy relationship with an attitude of humbleness and genuine love in Christ, we can address the need for changes in each other. But what appalls me is that someone who claims to walk in relationship with Christ can feel justified to say these to another brother in Christ and then walk away?! Do you really expect any good to come of that?
Christ calls us to love one another as we love ourselves. He calls us to live in a community of faith where we accept one another for how God sees us not as how we see each other. Yes, there is an accountability factor and that's my whole point. We are called to be accountable for our actions and words. That does not give us free reign to accuse and say anything we want to in hate. What gives with a self righteous attitude? What of the attitude of Christ?
In I Corinthians 13 (the LOVE chapter) Paul talks about our attitudes in doing good. "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have a faith that can move mountains but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. IT DOES NOT BOAST, it is not proud. IT IS NOT RUDE, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. IT ALWAYS PROTECTS, ALWAYS TRUSTS, ALWAYS HOPES, ALWAYS PERSEVERES."
The Giver of the words "I hate you" wants to walk away from the relationship. The Receiver of these words has shut down and is carrying a heavy cloak. I say to the Giver, "Where is the love of Christ in those words? Look in the mirror and check your own heart. God does not give up on the unloveable." To the Receiver I say, "Look in the mirror and see who you are in Christ. Humble yourself before Him and let him search your heart. Know that you are worthy of love. Shed the heavy yoke of accusation. Take on the yoke that is easy."
No one is perfect. Not one. As believers in Christ, we are called to live differently than the world. Why treat each other as the world treats us?