Today, instead of my normal devotional thought, I wanted to pass a long a devotional from the Upper Room. The Upper Room is a daily devotional guide that my home church used to get that I read my all my childhood. And now you can get the daily devotional emailed to you each morning. These daily thoughts are written by folks from all over the world. You can learn more about the Upper Room by visiting their website.
Here’s is today’s devotional. Hope it touches you like it touched me.
Whoever hates another believer . . . walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness.
– 1 John 2:11 (NRSV)
While praying about abuse in my childhood, I felt intense hatred for those who had hurt me. Then I felt guilt–believing that as a Christian I’m not supposed to hate. Later when I came across the above passage from 1 John, I became even more convinced that if I hate, I’m walking in darkness.
In time I came to understand this differently. The feeling of hatred is neutral, as all feelings are. And feeling hatred as the memories of past abuse surfaced is natural. It’s what I do with those feelings that matters. Do I dwell on the hatred? Do I hold a grudge or grow bitter? All I wanted in my heart was to be like Christ. I realized then that if I didn’t ask God to help me let go of the memories of abuse and forgive those who had hurt me, I would be walking in darkness.
I struggled a long time with my feelings of hatred, rage, and bitterness before I could give them to the Lord. But eventually I realized that hating others hurt only me, not them. When I relinquished these feelings, God’s Spirit mended my soul and replaced my hatred with love for others.
Wanda Viola (California, USA)