Adam and Eve cast out of the gardenI value a warning given by a church leader the other day. He said that we each have an innate hatred of evil. But that Satan tricks us into transferring that hatred of evil into a hatred of individuals. This is one of the greatest problems in the world today, and Church members have not escaped its tentacles. He reminded us that we all are in need of the healing and redemptive powers of Christ’s atonement, and that God’s love transcends his compassion for us as victims of sin to offer grace to us as perpetrators of acts that hurt others.

Now, I ask how does Satan trick us into transferring our God-given hatred of evil into a hatred of others? Why are we susceptible to this deceit? The answer is: WE ARE GUILTY, and we do not like looking in the mirror and seeing how ugly our actions are, so we build a façade of pride to hide our sins, not only from other, but primarily from ourselves. Because we are children of the Great Lawgiver, we each have an acute sense of justice, that no matter how deep we try to bury our guilt in the recesses of our mind, we still sense it lurking there, and occasionally it reaches up and grabs our attention.

We realize that it is as useless hiding from our guilt as it is sewing clothes out of fig leaves. It simply does not work. So, we follow Adam’s example and project our guilt onto others. We try to pass the blame. “It is her fault, not mine.” We take our guilt and project it onto others and attack it there in a vain attempt to satisfy our sense of justice that haunts us. We say to justice, “Ignore my faults. Instead, focus on the injustice over there. Leave me alone.” We create a fantasy world made up of good guys and bad guys, when in reality we are all mixed bags of good and evil. We are all imperfect. No one is in any position to judge another.

We are freed from this cycle of projecting guilt when we feel God’s grace atone for our faults. We no longer feel the need to project our guilt onto others. God’s love empowers us to love others, even our enemies.

The only way for us to become like God is to learn how to love other imperfect persons, just as God loves you and me, both flawed individuals. That is partially why he commands us to love our enemies. I hope that while we maintain our firm resistance to evil, we will learn compassion and forgiveness and realize that, as the hymn states, in “every heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can’t see.” We all need the support of one another as we struggle and stumble along through life. So, let’s extend a helping hand instead of rejecting old friends we disagree with. We need each other more than we generally want to admit, and we all suffer when we isolate ourselves from others. Love attracts and unifies. It is the antidote for what ails the world today.

I pray that we will invite God’s love into our heart so that he can empower us to love our enemies and enjoy more love and peace in the world.

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