Processing hate.

In the beginning of the year, I was given the new preaching roster which had me down to preach on 1 John 2:7-11 last night. Diligently I studied the passage. Read some commentaries and prayed hard, to put the sermon together. But, the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months and no matter what I did, it just wouldn’t come together. Talk about frustrating. And yesterday at 4:30 pm, I still had no sermon prepared to share for the 6pm service.

Only one of my sons came and stayed with me over the weekend, the other deciding not to come for a variety of reasons. We had had a busy, yet fun weekend. We have recently bought a home and are in the process of cleaning / painting it, and hope to move in at the end of this week. On Saturday night, my son and I camped at the house, sleeping on a air bed, and having a picnic on the floor. It was a great time of bonding and I was filled with a measure of sadness that my oldest wasn’t with us to share the moment.

4pm, Sunday afternoon came all too quickly and it was time to start the drive back to the pick up point, where I was to drop my son back to his mother. During the drive, I said Lord, I don’t have a sermon prepared, show me what it is you want me to preach on. Deep in my heart and into the very depths of my soul, I felt the Lord whisper to me, to preach on how to process hate. What do we do when we are confronted with times of hatred in our journey of life. And with that a number of processes came to mind.

And so I stood before the congregation on Sunday night, telling them the story of how I was ill prepared and had no sermon formally prepared. I shared how the Lord dropped a seed of inspiration into my heart and then said, if what I say tonight becomes a shambles, I deeply apologise – and if what I say speaks to you tonight, then lets praise the Lord for his goodness.

The points I made is that in life, more often than not, we will face a time of hatred. We will face a time where we will hate someone, or someone else will hate us. John tells us that we are to walk in the light and yet if anyone hates their brother, they actually walk in the darkness. So what are we to do when we find ourselves in the position of hating another person?

The points I made were as follows,

  1. Fully acknowledge it. Fully acknowledge the depth of it to yourself and to our Lord. Fully acknowledge the fullness of the hurt and the depths of the pain and acknowledge the right, that we are human and we are hurting. Ask the Lord to heal you of the pain and bitterness and ask him to help you in the process of forgiveness.
  2. If we have something against another, or we know they have something against us, we are to go to them and try and reconcile. But, I also acknowledge that there are times when that is not possible. The other person may not be available or alive to do that. They may be violent and abusive, and to go to them, would mean further harm.
  3. In that case, I said we are called to bless those who persecute us. Bless and do not curse. Bless those who spitefully use us. And I shared how the Lord started tapping me on my shoulder over 18 months ago to do this to my ex and start speaking a blessing over her. At first, I couldn’t even speak it out. My prayer was Lord, I am willing to do so, but unable. But now, despite the pain, the ongoing manipulation and abuse, I can freely speak a blessing over my ex. One where I declare, I bless you in your comings and goings, I bless you in your motherhood, in your walk with the Lord, I bless you in your relationships with your family and friends. I bless you in your health, thoughts and abilities.
  4. Within area of forgiveness, I shared how there are times it may not be a person we need to forgive, but it may be an incident, animal, car, rock etc. I shared how 25 years ago, my brother brought home some pretty girls from work, with the intention to ride my horse. She hadn’t been ridden for a while, and so I rode her around the paddock to get the kinks out of her, and while I was sneaking a peek at one of the girls, the horse stopped in mid stride, and I went sailing over her head. My pride was hurt and I jumped on the horse, rode her hard again, to show her who was boss and then stopped to allow the others to ride her… My point being is that I had to forgive my horse for throwing me.
  5. This point was about how we think about ourselves. Do we condemn ourselves with our thought patterns. Do we exercise the fruit of the Spirit towards ourselves.
  6. This led me to my final point. No matter what happens to us, God can work through it for his good. He can cause good to come out of every situation – I shared how the gashes and blood, led to the girls ignoring my brother, and to their tending to my wounds. Something which fed my then shattered 20 year old ego. Smile And within the act of forgiveness and releasing hate, it frees us to love, because Christ first loved us.

I was surprised at how well the sermon went last night. I was also given the encouragement that I had been well prepared for this sermon, because it was something I had already been living out. I was reminded of a quote about Charles Spurgeon, who after being asked how long it took him to prepare a particularly good sermon, replied, It has taken me a lifetime. 

About Craig Benno

I'm an average aussie guy who has lived perhaps a not so average life.
This entry was posted in Preaching, sermons and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Processing hate.

  1. Dave Black says:

    Thank you for this post. A beautiful reminder of the need to forgive.

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