Have you ever hated someone? Or is there someone you now hate? To hate is to intensely dislike or have malicious feelings toward someone. It may be because of what he has done or said to you or perhaps done to someone else. You may wish that you could pay him back or that something bad would happen to him so that he would get what he “deserves”.
But hatred towards someone else is not what a Christian should have. 1 John 3:15 “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” If you hate your brother, you are a murderer because in your hatred you wish bad things to happen to your brother. 1 John 2:9-11 “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” God is light, and for you to have fellowship with God requires you to also be in the light. But if you hate your brother you are in darkness and walk in darkness because your hatred has blinded you. 1 John 4:20-21 “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.”
Maybe the person you hate is your enemy and is against you. There is still no justification to hate your enemy. Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Your Father in heaven makes His sun rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). His desire is that good would come to all people. In this respect, you should be like Him. He wants you to love your enemies. Hatred is the opposite of love, so you must remove hatred for others from your life.
If you hate someone, you may want to take vengeance for the evil he has done. But vengeance belongs only to the Lord. Romans 12:17-21 “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Rather than taking vengeance, you are told to overcome evil with good.
So how do you deal with the hatred that you may have? I think the biggest step is to forgive him. Jesus taught in Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Since it is very important for God to forgive your sins, it is vital for you to forgive the person that you hate. Forgiving means that you no longer feel resentment towards the person. The person still needs to answer to God for what he has done. You may still need to be cautious to avoid future harm. But you don’t hold resentment towards him. When the resentment is gone, the hatred should also be gone.
It may be very difficult to forgive another. I encourage you to separate in your mind the trespass from the person. The trespass may be very bad, but the person is a precious individual created by God; he needs God’s salvation. Turn the individual over to God. Jesus taught us to “bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44) Pray for the individual and pray that God would help you to forgive.
If there is someone you hate, I encourage you to give up your hatred. You cannot love God as you are commanded to do and at the same time hate your brother.