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In 2003, my therapist said, "You must learn to counter your negative thoughts with positive thoughts." Similarly, my favorite author of women's Bible Studies encouraged me to "take my thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ" (2 Cor 10: 5). If memory serves, we were to re-wallpaper our minds with Scripture.
I tried to take my thoughts captive. But my thoughts were unruly and refused to submit. I didn't experience empowerment from either practice until I began to confess the contents of my heart. Why is confession so important? I've said it a million times. We cannot overcome what we deny.
I told God the truth. I told Him that I hated. Why I hated. How much I hated. Over time His steady presence transformed me--from the inside out.
A young man recently said to me, "I hate everyone. I don't know what's wrong with me. I pray and read my Bible daily. I ask God to please take my hate away, but everyday I wake up with hate." (I live for moments like this.) "Stop asking God to take your hate away and invite him into your hate."
Psalm 139: 22: "I hate them with perfect hatred . . . "
The first time I read this passage I about fell out of my chair. Hate can be perfected? There's a scripture for this? Being the book nerd that I am, I looked up the transliteration for perfect in Hebrew. (New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, Thomas Nelson, 2001)
#8503. Perfect / takliyth, tak-leeth; from #3615; completion; by impl. an extremity:--end, perfect (ion).
Divine Mercy perfects our hate. He searches our hearts and examines the cause(s) of our hate. I once hated everyone, and now I hate no one. What I hate is all manner of abuse.
Christ perfected my hate as I confessed day after day after day. Over time He disentangled me. He brought my destructive expressions of hate to completion and revealed a just cause.
Drop a few ice cubes inside a cup of boiling water and the temperature changes. Still, it's water. Hate is a God-given emotion. It is not a sin. Life and death hinges on how it is expressed (or suppressed).
Prayer: Jesus, I invite you into the center of my hate. "Search me and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting!" (Ps 139: 23-24)
How can Christ lead you out if you won't let him in?
Published on Thursday, April 16, 2020 @ 12:00 PM CDT