My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
HATE IS THE SPIRITUAL POISON THAT
KILLS THE SOUL
One of the Old Testament Books is the Book of Leviticus whose author was Prophet Moses. The Major theme is how to worship God. The Book points out the difference between God’s love for His people and those of the Gentile paganistic world surrounding them. In Leviticus 19:17-19, we read, "You shall NOT HATE YOUR BROTHER IN YOUR MIND…You shall NOT take vengeance, nor bear any grudge…BUT YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF: I AM THE LORD."
The exhortation, "you shall love your neighbor as yourself," (19:18) here makes its appearance for the first time in the Holy Scripture and its only appearance in the Old Testament. It is a summary of what was required in the Mosaic Law. In the New Testament, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ states emphatically, "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless 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" (St. Matthew 5:44-48).
The antidote to the poison of hatred is only one, LOVE. Our Lord freed the human race from hate, sadness, and anger and now He offers the greatest possession of all, PERFECT LOVE (AGAPE). That is a gift that can only be possessed by the one, who, by the grace of God and the power of the Spirit, manifests God’s love for all.
Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk writes the following on hate: "Hate arises either from envy, as with Cain who nursed a hatred for his brothers, Abel, whose happiness he envied, and he killed him (cf. Genesis ch. 4); or from an offense done to someone." The holy Apostle Paul exhorts us, "Let not the sun go down upon your anger" (Ephesians 4:26). Hatred is more harmful and injurious to the one who hates than to the hated person. In 1 Peter 2:1-2, we are advised: "Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby." In addition, we are told, "Follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that does good is of God: but he that does evil has not seen God" (3 John 1:11-12).
Love is the virtue opposite of hate. "As bitter as hate is," writes Saint Tikhon, "so sweet is love and as harmful and pestilent as hate is, so useful is love… Hate works evil, Love does not do evil but does good. Hate is hateful and loathsome. Love is welcome and beloved by all… Where there is no love THERE IS NO FAITH, FOR FAITH DOES NOT EXIST WITHOUT LOVE. Where there is no faith, THERE IS NEITHER CHRIST NOR SALVATION. Christians, we confess God, Who IS LOVE."
The officiating priest at the Divine Liturgy says loudly: "Let us love one another that with one mind we may confess, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." A constant reminder to the Orthodox Christians is to love one another, because otherwise, they are not of one mind, of one faith, and therefore cannot confess their common faith in God the Holy Trinity.
The answer to mankind’s challenges is only one, LOVE. Saint Tikhon says the following: "If there were love, there would be no theft, robbery or other evils…if there were love, people would not touch the bed of their neighbor [commit adultery], if there were love, people would not be subject to slander, reproach, abuse, railing, dishonor, and other evils… if there were love, people would not deceive one another..If there were love people would not pass judgment on the other…if there were love, people would have no use for guards or locks because there would be no robbers and thieves… If there were love, people would not languish in prison for debts, foreclosure, and default…if there were love, people would not go around in rags and half-naked.. if there were love, people would not wander about without homes..if there were love there would be no poor or wretched.."
Indeed if there were love, there would be no wars, there would be no injustice, there would be no violence against the weak, if there would be love there would be no rich or poor, if there were love there would be no need to dominate the other, if there were love there would be no exploitation of the innocent, if there were love there would be respect for life (there would be no abortions), if there were love there would be no neglect and abuse of the elderly, if there were love there would be no hunger, if there were love there would be a world free of all evil; if there were love God would reign in the world. With God as the Loving Ruler of the world, the world would be Paradise and everlasting peace and joy would prevail.
Pray that love will triumph!
"Glory Be To GOD
+ + +
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George