Kindle the Fires of Hatred
That's not a phrase you hear Christians say very often.
Not often enough as far as I'm concerned.
I just got back from the local fire hall where our local Relay for Life is being held. The Relay is an American Cancer Society event that takes place in virtually every city in the country. People get sponsors and walk a track all night long to raise money to search for a cure for cancer.
Just a few years ago, my family watched a very good friend of ours slowly succumb to brain cancer. He left behind a wide and three young children. Since then, his surviving family, my family, and many others have participated in the Relay.
One of the events that takes place is that people light luminaries for all those loved ones who have died or struggled against cancer. The little white paper bags containing little white candles line the perimeter of the track we walk. Well tonight, we lit luminaries for our friend who is now with the Lord. And we thought of all those we love who have fought cancer: an aunt, my parents, the list was long. And as I let my eye wander around the track, following the endless line of little white paper bags illuminated by little white candles, I became angry. When my small children and our friend's children wept by the candlebag our our friend, I became incensed. Hatred kindled inside of me.
Hatred of Sin.
Now, don't misunderstand me. I know all those who have died because of cancer did not get cancer because they sinned. I understand the Biblical account of Jesus where his disciples saw a sick man and wondered who sinned that he should be so sick--the sick man or his parents? Jesus knew better and responded that it was so that God's glory could be shown when Jesus healed the man.
I have sinned far more than thousands who have died from cancer. This I know, and yet, I go on living. But one thing is certain: if it were not for all sin, there would be no cancer. The world would not be fallen, stained, and cursed. I don't blame Adam or Eve. Had it been me, I'd have probably eaten a bushel of apples and passed them out to all my friends. But sin happened. They sinned. I have sinned. All have sinned. And look at all the suffering in the world.
I was convicted that I contribute all too often to the misery of the world. Every time I sin, it's like feeding a monstrous force of sorrow, pain, and death. And I know, some sins are pervasive and terribly difficult to shake. But there are others sins that we all know we can beat--with God's strength in us, we know we can. Little white lies, rationalizing, manipulations disguised, selfishness dressed up to look like something better...the list goes on. We Christ followers are called to be like Jesus--putting off the old self, HATING SIN in all of its forms.
So I issue a call to all who might read this: Kindle the fires of hatred--hatred of sin. And as much as you can, with all your might, with all God's power in you--be holy. Say to the enemy, "In the name of Jesus Christ, GET OFF ME!! I am free to choose not to sin!"
Remember the pain that sin causes. Remember the sorrow. Remember the little white candles. And let those small flames, kindle a new fire in you.