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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Sermonette - To Everything a Season (Part 13)

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to love, and a time to hate; A time of war, and a time of peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:8, NKJV)

This will be the last of this series, and I'm going to miss this great section of the book of Ecclesiates.

Do you remember the song "Turn, Turn, Turn" by the Byrds? No, I don't suppose you do. It was written in the late '50s by Pete Seeger. I had no idea when it came out the song was taken from the Bible. I had even less idea what it meant.

A time to love. I think this is a constant, even though real love is as variable as the wind. I loved my parents all the while they were alive.  I love my kids, my husband, and my grandkids. I love my friends. Those things are constant. I admit to being angry at each of them at least once--and when a child, sometimes interpreted that anger as hate.

Hate is sometimes described as "the other side of love," but I disagree wholeheartedly. Anger is common in love--but hate in my opinion is reserved for things, attitudes, crimes, etc.--not people. Only God has the right to hate anyone--but He does not. Anyone is allowed to repent and turn to Him.

We can be taught to hate. Hate people of a different color than yourself--isn't that ridiculous? Hate people of different religions--even within religions. Over the centuries there has been so much tension between blacks, browns, whites, yellows, and reds. Between Catholics and Protestants. Between Isis and Taliban. My children, these things should not be.

Love and hate are so closely related to war and peace, aren't they? Is there any way we can end it? Only with ourselves. I can't force you to like me or to stop hating me--or interpreting anger as hate. But I can stop hating in myself. Sometimes it takes all the strength God can give me to control anger, but if I let Him into my heart, He can do it.

Lord, help me. I'm weak and lack Your complete knowledge. I need You to clean out all the ugliness in my heart. I give my heart into Your hands to do with as You will. I pray You will sweep it clean of every last vestige of dislike for people who are different. Replace all the ugliness with Your beauty, Your love, Your peace, so much that I can't help but overflow on everyone around me. Thank You, Lord.
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