I have learned to hate.
Hate is a driving force that spurs me to action, opinion, and determination. Weirded out yet? Yeah. I guess that’s not your typical opening statement for a devotional. But hate — in the correct context — can make a lot of sense.
Paul the Apostle stated it best when he said: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15 ESV)
I do the very thing that I hate. There is so much of my sinful self that I have come to despise. My impatience is one of them. When I have projects to complete, I become driven — focused — and my two year old suffers. The other night he was following me close on my heels, like a needy little puppy dog. I turned and snapped “go watch Bubbleguppies!”
Like really — what kid doesn’t want their mother to tell them to watch TV? The look in his big baby browns just about killed me. Sadness. Mommy didn’t want his help, or his prancing on tiptoes singing, “I may never march in the infary, toot in the tootery”. Mommy was too busy. He hung his head and without question returned to his banishment on the couch and the cheerful cartoons went over his head as he buried his face in his blanket.
I have come to hate the darkness inside of me.
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” (Romans 7:18 ESV)
As humanity, we have formed a culture that fights for the right to act on our fleshly impulses. But as Paul defines, those impulses are “nothing good”. Strangely enough, in our fight for human rights, we have also fought for the right to damage, wound, impale, break, and scar those around us. For sin does not only affect ourselves. It does not only affect our relationship to God. It touches others in a rippling effect of pain.
“I have the desire to do what is right…” — I do. I really do. “…but not the ability to carry it out.” Failure. Morbid utter condemnation.
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25a ESV)
I stared at my son while I was consumed with hatred for the sin inside of me that caused me to selfishly snap at my child, wounding his spirit of joy and creating even a smidgen of doubt that I wanted his presence in my life.
“Are you mad at Mommy, buddy?”
“I’m sorry.” I whispered it. He turned and his cheeks stretched into a smile. Sitting up, he patted my knee with all the love he could muster.
He understood. Why? Because he’s already been there too. In his own tiny sinful self, he knows what it’s like to wound. He knows what it’s like to ask forgiveness.
Thanks be to God … to Jesus Christ our Lord … for in and of myself, I will continue to wound, to scar, to walk in darkness. But in Jesus, I find life, healing, strength, and the ability to claim His victory over my sinful self.
I have learned to love. I have learned to love life — and the righteousness found therein.
What have you learned to hate about your old nature and/or what new character has God recently taught you?