By John Hutchinson
There’s something volcanic within us which can discharge the overflowing lava of hatred, on those we don’t like.
Hatred led to the extermination of six million Jews and thrust the world into one its most terrible wars. It crucified the best person who ever lived. He said, 'They hated me without a cause.'
It was expressed all too explicitly in the public prayer of Sheikh Sharif Hussein: 'Oh Allah, count the Buddhists and the Hindus one by one and kill them to the very last one.' (Advertiser 14/4/2014)
But, do we have to hate like that? Do we even have to hate at all? Some are taught to hate. They're nurtured in a culture of contempt.
Let's be hate-haters - hating that which makes others objects of hatred. The Bible says; 'Hate what is evil, cling to that which is good.'
Let's be haters of injustice and cruelty – everything which deprives people of a fair go. Hate that which is greedy and selfish. Hate everything which leaves little children without clothes and food. Hate violence in all its ugly forms – the worst being murders and war.
The world is an evil place and there's much we can actively and constructively hate.
In 1998, on a visit to Jerusalem, I met an American who had known the vicious side of hatred. At university he got into anti-communist groups and later became a Klansman with the Ku Klux Klan, where he learned to hate intensely.
He hated black people and Jews and became one of America's most notorious terrorists. He planted bombs and machine-gunned down police.
After his capture for a second time, he was locked in a solitary cell where he read a New Testament. He read about something he had known nothing about – love.
He read about the love of God – the love of Jesus Christ. He read about a love so great and wonderful it took Jesus to the cross to die for our sins.
Tommy Tarrants became a changed man – someone truly 'born again.' I spent nearly a week with him and some others who were visiting significant places in Israel.
It was hard to believe he had been the man he had been. He was gentle and kind and looked after us in a special way. But when he showed where gunfire had blasted flesh from his body, we were more than convinced.
He is now a pastor in America and has a lovely wife and family. He likes to revisit Israel to express love to the people he once hated.
Martin Luther King Jn. once said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
When the Bible says, 'Hate what is evil, cling to that which is good,' it reminds me of a kid at school who kept a pet possum. It slept under her jumper through the day and then came out at night.
The thing I particularly remember about possums was the way young ones clung to their mothers as they climbed through the tall gum tree branches and leaves.
Let's be like that – ever clinging to what is good – and, most importantly clinging to Christ Himself, the Son of God, who was infinitely good and suffered and died to make us better than we are.
It was Jesus who said, 'Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.'•