Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Humans Hate Each Other

I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell” (Matthew 5:22).

One would think that since humanity hates God, it would stand shoulder to shoulder, united in opposition to Him. Because of their unity against God, one might expect to find people loving each other, strengthening each other’s hands against the common Foe. In fact, however, this is not the case.

The first great commandment is to love God, the second is to love our neighbors as ourselves. The reason these commandments are needed is that we by nature hate God, our neighbors, and (as we shall see tomorrow) ourselves.

Humans hate each other, and the reason is not difficult to determine. Everyone is made in God’s image and still mirrors that image to some degree. Thus, since everyone hates God, everyone hates the images of God—other people. This hatred manifests itself in wars and conflicts of various sorts, as well as in more subtle ways: envy, backbiting, gossip, and manipulation.

Possibly one of the most subtle ways we hate one another is by doing good to one another. We live and move and have our being in God (Acts 17:28). How can you possibly do me any good, if you do not have any concern for the Being in whom I have my being? If you hate God, who is the context of my life, then you hate me as well. The apparent good that you do me is not really good at all, because it is divorced from God.

Remember what we saw about false religions yesterday. The same is true of false good. If the good deed is not connected to God, it is a way of pretending that God is unnecessary. How can you promote my wellbeing if you are helping me to ignore God?

The most appalling aspect of this is that we tend to hate most those closest to us. Consider two fathers. The first is a mean, sadistic bully. He terrorizes his children, and they feel his hatred. It is easy for us to see that this man hates his children. The second is a kind man who has provided well for his children and is never mean to them—but is an atheist. It may be harder for us to see, but this man also hates his children because he is sealing them against God. They will grow up feeling no need for Him. No worse gift can be given from a father to his children.

The essential characteristic of a truly good work and of all real love is the motivation behind it. Only Christians can live and act in a manner that is truly pleasing to God. Concentrate today on why you do and say what you do, striving to achieve that purity of heart commended by Christ in the Beatitudes.