“Jacob I loved. Esau I hated.”
Can you effectively love someone you hate?
“Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." Romans 9:13
I’m not sure it’s possible in the natural, but when we bring God into the equation it becomes possible. I am not sure it’s bad to hate someone. God has wired us with emotions and our mind, heart, spirit and emotions are all connected. Some more emotional than others while some are more cerebral. In the same way some are more spiritual and some are not.
Hate can show itself for a number of reasons. We are to not hate, but to love. But let’s be real. We are real people and if I sit here and tell you “don’t hate. Love your enemy. Be good to one another.” (Matthew 5:44) That would be true...however, I believe in a God who is more than aware of our frail humanity and he knows we are going to hate. He hated. It says it plainly. God hated Esau. I think the greater question and the root of this blog is to focus on what is it we do with our hate? Do we act on it? Seek revenge? Get malicious? Or do we show love. Even though God hated Esau you still see the evidence of a prosperous life. God loved Esau by blessing his life, even though he hated him.
With Christ all things are possible and I truly believe we can love someone we hate. I’ve said for several decades now it’s possible to love someone you don’t like. But right now God is really speaking to my heart about whether or not I can truly love someone who has hurt me so deeply and that hurt just keeps occurring on repeat like a beating I must endure, can I truly forgive and walk in love?
Again, all things are possible with Christ.
I think in the Church we are so focused on what’s we ought to be, we bear banner of personal shame when we fall short or struggle with deep emotions such as hate. So we glaze over it on a surface level instead of really diving deep to the heart of the matter, extracting the roots, and using all that dirt to cultivate some fruit.
Do you have someone in your life who is continually hurting you? Maybe it’s someone close like a relative or co-worker; someone who you are required to be around. Perhaps God has kept that person in your life so you could gain deeper refinement in the area of love, forgiveness and grace? You don’t have to enjoy the person. You don’t have to share your heart with them. But do your best to be kind. Be patient. Be forgiving. Lean into God as he helps you. If he’s got you in the situation to grow, he will shield your heart from the enemy’s blow. And remember, the person isn’t your enemy, but their hang ups, insecurities, shortcomings may very well be.
See yourself with the eyes of Christ, then try to see that other person through his eyes as well. If God didn’t see something wonderful in you, he wouldn’t have put that person in your life to begin with. This is only a season, it will pass, but the fruit of loving kindness and patience will last. And you never know what your life holds and what will become an open door and all that grace, kindness and bold patience was there to mold you into the person you needed to be for your next level victory.
It’s ok to struggle with less than awesome feelings for others. Your human. Let’s not be self righteous, but let us wrap ourselves up in His righteousness. You never know, there just might be someone out there praying for the kindness, patience and grace to endure you.