The Logic of Love and Hate
November 10, 2021 | View PDF
Jesus began His ministry with a sermon about being a citizen of the kingdom of God and having the attribute of Divine love. “Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.’ But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:” (Matthew 5:43-45)
This is a very explosive and radical principle of non-retaliatory, non-resistant love. In simple terms, Jesus is talking about a love that will not defy or oppose, boycott, picket, strike back, get revenge, hold a grudge, confront or obstruct, riot or rebel.. A follower of Jesus would rather submit to injury than to seek opportunity to inflict it on somebody else. In the court of public opinion, as Christians, we are to display this radical love teaching of Jesus.
Jesus concludes his sermon with these proactive words about loving others, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12) This golden rule takes supreme selfishness, what we would like others to do for us, and transform it into supreme selflessness, what we are to do for others.
The Cross experience of Christ demonstrated this forgiving and sacrificial love. Jesus knew that to be loved by God’s divine love is to experience a change of thoughts and actions. It’s a love that governs the impulses, controls the passions, and transforms us to loving others as He loves us. And this explains the logic of love, a principle of life that Christ asks of those who follow Him and bear His name.
But just as comprehensive as this principle of love is for the good of mankind, so also, if abused and not heeded, can bring about the most destructive forces of evil. If this principle of Divine love, this non-retaliatory, non-resistant, golden rule love is not a conviction in the heart of the Christian, then the lack of this love can bring about the most vicious, cruel, vindictive, and destructive evils against mankind. A man by the name of Blaise Pascal, who lived centuries ago, is quoted as having said, “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”
A simple philosophical principle, by the great Aristotle, tries to explain the logic of hate. It is called the “Principle of Negation,” which says, “If P, then not not-P.” In other words, something (P) cannot be true without its contrary, its negation (not-P), being false. This “Principle of Negation,” when applied to social relationships is a self-centered, self-righteous, self-deceiving, delusion of evil that has caused persecution, prejudice, hatred, violence and genocide since the very first killing of Abel by Cain. Am I my brother’s keeper? Do I really need to love my neighbor?
Let’s apply this principle to the relationship of Jews and Arabs: We are the Sons of Isaac (P), and you are not the sons of Isaac (not-P), therefore we are the chosen ones, and you cannot also be the chosen ones, therefore we hate and kill you. What about the Muslim world: We are the followers of Allah and Mahammad (P) and you don’t have Allah and Mohammed (not-P), therefore, you cannot be the true followers of God, and it is our conviction, that all that are not of Allah and Mohammed are our enemies and therefore you should be killed to preserve our existence.
So, how does this apply to the Irish Protestants and Catholics; the Hutus and the Tutsi; the Indians and the Pakistani; the Serbians and Kosovars; the Croatians and Bosnians; the Blacks and the Klu Klux Klan; drug users and non-users; rich and poor; Republicans and Democrats; or the hatred over the moral issues of abortion, civil rights, free speech, gun control, education or voting rights? Whatever the conflicting beliefs, hatred and harm spew forth from this “Principle of Negation,” or logic of hate.
Jesus told His disciples, “If they have hated me, they will hate you,” “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever kills you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. (John 16:1-3) So, I believe there is some logic to the choosing of love over hate. Why not choose to be loved by God today and begin loving others as He loves?
Retired Pastor Jim Nichols - Sidney Seventh-day Adventist Church