In some recent Victory Calls I shared about a quote from Paul Tripp’s book, “Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands” The quote was jarring and I have been thinking about it for days now. He wrote: ““There is no neutral ground between love and hatred.”(Pg. 205
I was having a cup of tea with a woman from our new church and I shared the impact of that quote in Tripp’s book as she had read it as well. She made a statement which I knew was true but I also knew I had not addressed it in my previous Victory Calls so I guess you could call this an addendum.
Her statement was: “Hatred is usually a result of loving ourselves more.”
I think this is an important point that I did not clearly state previously and it can bring clarity to our thinking about love and hate. Most of us wiggle under the thought that we are hating. I know I do. Hate is a very strong word.
Consider the second greatest command: “‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:39).
Let’s take a practical look:
- Gossip – when I gossip about someone, I am sharing information that is not loving about them. I am not loving them, I am loving myself wanting to bear knowledge I have that others may not.
- Anger – when I become angry, I am deeming the other person is wrong and I am right – I am not loving my neighbor, I am loving myself.
- Bitterness – when I am bitter – I believe I have been sinned against and I don’t deserve such treatment. I have judged the person and am bearing a grudge. I am not loving my neighbor, I am loving myself.
- Pride – when I am proud – I am thinking more highly of myself than I ought. I am loving myself.
- Superiority – this is an attitude that I am better than another person. Smarter, wiser, better educated, more knowledgeable, more righteous, more holy… you get the idea. I am not loving my neighbor, I am loving myself.
- Coveting – when I covet anything – I am believing I can’t be happy without that thing—I want and I do not have. I am loving myself.
- Having to have the last word – I believe that my opinion is more important that the other person’s. I am loving self, not my neighbor.
- The silent treatment – ignoring the other person – refusing to speak to the other person. I have determined I will pretend they do not exist. I am NOT loving my neighbor, I am loving myself.
- When I fail to care for another’s practical needs when it is within my ability to do so, because it is inconvenient. I am not loving my neighbor. I am loving myself because I value my comfort above their need.
If we took just 10 minutes to think of ways we love ourselves more than others, I think we would each come up with our own list.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Phil 2:3-4; NIV) Value others above yourselves. That can be a tall order.
Paul continues, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Phil 2:5-8; NIV)
Bottom line: In the flesh our inclination is to love ourselves, not others. If we are to have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, it will lead us to having an attitude of humility, service and even death to ourselves, our flesh, and our wants. BUT this, sister, is our redeeming hope: by the power of the Holy Spirit, He will enable us to love others above ourselves, if we listen and heed.
Oh, Lord may it be so.
Written by Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and is the Executive Director & CEO of Changed Choices, a Christian non-profit in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.