The Hateful Heart

It’s intriguing to note how often the word hate lands in the biblical text. Most of the references deal with what God hates (evil, falsehood, robbery, iniquity, wickedness, and even divorce). The Bible gets specific in Proverbs 6: 16-19 as, “Six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”

In addition, there are several passages that speak about what we are to hate as God’s people, summarized simply as evil. We’re reminded as well that it is blessed to be hated for loving God, and in turn we are admonished to do good toward all who hate us. In other words, join God in hating all the things that He hates (see above) and learn to turn the other cheek toward all who hate you for loving God and godliness.

But what about a God-fearing person who hates another God-fearing person? That’s when it gets confusing. It’s one thing to have a hateful heart as a non-believer, or to receive the hatred of a non-believer, but what about a hateful heart that exists within and among God’s family? How can hate toward another Christian ever be justified?

“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him,” writes John in 1 John 2: 9-11.

Whenever I hear a Christian describe a hateful heart toward another in the family of God I hear inner torment and unresolved anger. There’s a blockage in the heart that stubbornly refuses to let any light shine on the hate that resides within. It’s considered easier to carry around animosity, malice, and spite than to deal openly, honestly, and lovingly toward those we may hate. But, since the truth always sets us free, a hateful heart can indeed be healed by the presence and power of God. When confronted by the initiating love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a hateful heart can be melted away and replaced instead with mercy, grace, and joy.

“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4: 19-21). Does any shed of hate reside in your heart today toward God or one of God’s people? Rid yourself of the weight that burdens your heart and instead find freedom to love as one who’s been loved by God in order to love another.

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.