Thoughts on Human Hatred
Tony Cooke

Two decades ago, I preached in a nation that has long been known as a hot spot for animosity, conflict, and violence between two specific people groups. The church that hosted me was made up of people from what I will simply call social group A. It was interesting because the people were born again, and yet culturally they had experienced all of the tensions and pain that existed within their society.

During one of the services, another congregation participated, and these individuals were from social group B. Culturally and socially, these people were from very different backgrounds, and yet they had one thing in common: they all recognized that without Christ, they were sinners and that they had come to Him for forgiveness and cleansing. I saw the people from both groups worshipping together, receiving the word of God together, and embracing each other. I was very moved.

I asked the pastor of the visiting congregation—the people from social group B—if he could give me any insights into the long-standing conflict between the two groups in his nation. He said that apart from Jesus and people getting born-again, he saw no real hope for a resolution to the conflict. He said that for generations, everyone from both groups had been hurt and injured in some way by the other group and that both groups (and I found this alarming) taught their children: “Never forgive; never forget; and never admit that you are wrong.”

This pastor told me that it was only when people from either group repent of their sinfulness (which includes racism, prejudice, and unforgiveness) do they find the ability to function as a new person in Christ. I was reminded of Ephesians 2:15, which in one translation reads, “He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups” (NLT).

Today, I am reminded of what Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:19, NKJV). The NLT renders it, “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” Here is what Martin Luther King Jr. prayed:

O God, . . . we thank Thee for Thy Church, founded upon Thy Word, that challenges us to do more than sing and pray, but go out and work as though the very answer to our prayers depended on us and not upon Thee. . . . Help us to realize that man was created to shine like the stars and live on through all eternity. Keep us, we pray, in perfect peace, help us to walk together, pray together, sing together, and live together until that day when all God’s children, Black, White, Red, and Yellow, will rejoice in one common band of humanity in the kingdom of our Lord and of our God, we pray. Amen.