John 3:21-21 (NIV)- For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.
A friend of mine recently officiated at a funeral of a venerable Christian disciple who died at the ripe age of 92.
My friend had confided with me that he did not know how he was going to preside over the graveside service after the calling hours. He shared with me that in his gut, he knew that a good amount of people would show up, but not because they cared for the departed. They all shared a unifying focal point that brought them together: HATRED.
My friend calls this group: “The Communion of Hate.”
For many years, this group of persons belonged to a church where bickering, backbiting, jealousy, gossip, fits of rage, pride and internal divisions were the common victuals of their fellowship.
These folks fought about everything. They complained about everything. They opposed everything…and when they “approved” something, it was in order to give permission to my Pastor friend, in order to watch him fail as a result of their lack of active support.
The Pastor realized that the problem among them stemmed from their unregenerate core. To love sincerely was not part of their D.N.A. To love them actively was considered a sign of weakness. So he began to do the one thing the Master called him to do:
Preach Law and Gospel.
He “gave” it to them like they never heard it before. The Law confronted them face to face, while the Gospel invited them to enter through the doors of grace and be reconciled with God. But oftentimes, just hearing the Law of God preached to them was confounding- they were too insulted with God’s Law in order to listen and take heed of the Gospel.
All their lives they believed that they were “good,” and that they really had nothing to repent of. They considered their modus operandi of hatred and criticism to be normal.
They tried to destroy him for his preaching…but God miraculously made him incredibly resilient and blessed him abundantly while their hatred consumed them. Eventually some joined ultra fundamentalist churches, while the majority sought “refuge” in churches that advocate for abortion “rights” and gay “marriage.”
But the most interesting aspect of all was that while the “Communion of Hate” was being dispersed by the Light of Scripture, God began to draw new persons who loved the teachings of their Pastor! This little group of Bible-lovers, my Pastor friend refers to as:
The Communion of LOVE.
He calls them this, not because they love him per se, (although they do!) but because of their love for God and His written Word. The love for God’s Word is their unifying point of convergence. Their fraternity is not based on hatred, but on love.
During the calling hours, my friend noticed that the Communion of Hate was not in the room where the deceased was laying, but rather in an adjacent room. The laughter and mirth that proceeded from their room could be heard throughout the entire funeral home. Those who peeked inside the room of the deceased did so with rushed brevity, not because they felt uncomfortable to see the dead body…but because they were in a rush to fellowship with those they loved to hate and criticize before they all concentrated on hating their Pastor.
My Pastor friend was illumined by God as to what to do. First of all, every hateful glance was responded with soft, loving eyes. Second, he sat peacefully in the room of the deceased so that those who desired to greet him, could have access to him. My Pastor friend was not about to give into pride, anger, and resentment. And third, he did not correct anyone who condescendingly called him by his first name. He did not demand to be called “Pastor” or “Reverend,” but rather, he also called them by their first names.
My friend’s personal disciples courageously stood by while he led the service beside the tomb. Everything went well and many little miracles happened that are too long to describe in a small article.
But the one thing my Pastor friend learned is that just as there is a Communion of “Saints,” there is also a “Communion of Hate.”
The one element among Hellish souls is hatred for God. They hate Him because God is love (1 John 5:8). And since God is Love, He rejoices in the Truth. (1 Corinthians 13:6) Souls in Hell are suffering… but fact is that they love their dark suffering and hate the light. They hate the light because it exposes their sin and wounds their pride- so they choose to live in darkness where they eternally merge with their sin by the power of Hate.
So they hate God, and they hate anyone who will tell them the truth of God’s Law and the hope of the Gospel. They love to hate, and because they do, they cannot rightfully be called “Christians.”
1 John 4:20 (NIV) -Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.