The Lord’s Revelation
A couple of days ago, during my morning run, the Lord showed me that while humanity is doing all that it can to combat COVID 19, there is a more insidious virus that people are not paying attention to and that is the virus of hatred! I shared the message on Facebook the same day, but I am going to expound on this spiritual virus in the next couple of devotionals.
And as He spoke, a certain Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He went in and sat down to eat. When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that He had not first washed before dinner. Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? Mark 11:37-41
Being unclean was a sin to Pharisees, and they showed their piety by how they washed and avoided unclean people! They also judged others, including Jesus, based on their cleanliness. I wonder if that was exactly the reason that Jesus didn’t wash to stir up something in their worldview. It was easy to judge Jesus and His disciples based on what was visible with their eyes, but somehow they easily neglected their own internal condition of hardened and prideful hearts!
The Current Standard
Similarly, we also have our version of “cleaning outside of the cup but neglecting the inward part” right now. Everyone is being very cautious about staying clean and germ free because of the pandemic. We are instructed to use hand sanitizers and wash our hands frequently. Masks have become so much part of our wardrobe that they have become a fashion statement. When we wear them, we show that no only we care about our health, but we also care about the health of the community and our nation! These things have become so much the norm these days that those who don’t follow the instructions are perceived as lawless and selfish! Doesn’t it sound like a moral issue!?
Obviously, we all should take the extra caution during this time to ensure the safety of ourselves and others. However, we cannot forget that our spiritual condition and its health have much more long-term and devastating consequences in our lives!
The Hypocrisy of Actions
The current climate seems almost hypocritical. On one hand, we care about our neighbor and their wellbeing, but on the other hand we cannot stand their views! When there is a hotly debated issue or injustice, people begin to build fortresses and hold their position of “us against them.” Somehow, the same person that we wanted to protect yesterday from the virus, today we can them because they don’t have our values or don’t see the issues our way. In a moment’s notice we go from “We’re all in this together” to “You don’t care and you never will!”
The disagreements and hatred ensue for variety of reasons. They could be due to others’ race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, political persuasion, offense, etc. People complain about another group lacking understanding and not caring about their issues. Then some take it further by labeling others and accusing people as to why they don’t see it their way. Somehow we can justify our hatred for variety of reasons, but God is looking at the condition of our hearts!
I understand the dichotomy in the world because people are led by their natural senses and instincts. However, as the body of Christ we have been called to a higher place. When these kinds of issues cause us to have a deep dislike or even hatred towards others, we should be pay attention to them! The hatred points us to something we need repentance and healing from.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matthew 5:21-22
Jesus set a very high standard for us. He did not see murder as the only sin against one another, but he saw the seed of murder in the inward part! The very things that cause us to look down upon others and call them fools one day will bring about their evil fruit in one form, shape, or another! He knew that unless we deal with the condition of our hearts, someday the seeds of evil planted will bring forth fruit of hatred, division, indifference, and hardened hearts.
How do we determine the condition of our hearts as it relates to others? God uses people and circumstances to expose what is in our hearts. Below are some questions to consider to reveal what is in our hearts.
1. Who do you look down upon?
2. Who do you have a tendency to criticize and judge?
3. Who and what makes you angry?
4. Whom do you have a tendency not to trust?
5. Who do you think does not understand you?
6. Who do you try to avoid?
Meditate on the above scriptures and pay attention to your thoughts and feelings towards others as you go through your day. Allow the Lord to speak to you. If there is any hatred or dislike towards a person, confess them to the Lord. Ask Him to forgive you and show you the root of the hatred. Let Him deliver you and set you free. I will continue on this subject in the next devotional.