Here is something we don’t like to talk about when it comes to church. In fact we make great efforts to hide the hate, envy and malice that permeates throughout our churches. But lets not forget. God talked about it first.
In Genesis 37:3-5, we find these words: “Now Israel, (Jacob), loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a coat of many colors. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him more, and could not speak peaceable unto him. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren; and they hated him yet the more.” Genesis 37: 11 says, “And his brethren envied him…
The brothers of Joseph hated him because he had favor with their father Jacob. The hatred grew because of the blessing from their father to their younger brother. This hatred turned into envy as a result of Joseph spiritual gift of dreams. Today hatred and envy is throughout our churches because believers are jealous of other believers material blessings and spiritual blessings from the God our Father.
The bible says in Proverbs 10:12, “hatred stirs up strife.” Hatred in the church wakes up and stirs up the evil flesh of believers. As a result, it gives birth to division, cliques, schisms, partiality, gossip, judging, lies and deception in individual local congregations and in the Body of Christ as a whole. All of this often starts in the pulpit and moves it’s way down to various congregations.
The bible also says in I John 2:11 and 3:15, “But he that hates his brother is in darkness, and walks in darkness, and know not where he goes because darkness has blinded his eyes. Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer; and you know no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” In essence, the main reason there is so much hate in the church is because the church is full of people who claim to be saved, but who really are not; from the pulpit to the pews! This is why so many people claim to love God, of whom they have never seen, but yet hate their brothers and sisters who they see everyday!
The worst thing about having hate in your heart is that it also creates a pathway for a person to live with, and in, envy and malice. An unknown writer once wrote, “Envy is the most precious daughter of the devil because it follows his footsteps by hindering good and promoting evil.” The devil plants a seed of hatred in our hearts so that his daughter, envy, can abide and grow in us. Envy is what causes so many to try to hinder those who are trying so desperately to do good and to do the right thing. Envy also deceptively comforts us when we promote evil, in some form or fashion, against other believers. Envy is rampant in the church.
Envy causes inner pain when one sees those they hate, succeed. There is actually physical or emotional pain in an individual, when they see someone they hate or don’t like, succeed. That is why some people can’t speak or talk to you. That is why some go the other way when they see you. They are in enormous pain because of you prospering or succeeding in any endeavor.
Envy has a twin sister by the name of malice. Malice produces inward satisfaction when those with hatred and envy see you fail. That is why so many believers love to gossip about the mistakes, sins or misdeeds of others. Malice give them more satisfaction than keeping their mouths shut and praying for the person who has falling short of the glory of God. Most gossip is the by-product of envy and malice.
Envy and malice usually generated slander and unwarranted criticism. That is why church folk love to gossip and talk negative about other church folk. That is why they love to add lies to the truth and lies to more lies. That is why they are always critical of both the saved and unsaved. That is why in the eyes of some of your so called Christian friends you can never do anything right. That is why, no matter what good thing or things you are doing they always have to bring up the negative things in your past.
But the most abomination about these three sins of hatred, envy and malice, is when believers hide behind the veil of religion and self-righteousness. This combination creates a poison that can be deadly to others. We all know, if were would be honest, that hatred, envy and malice are rampant in our churches. But we have one truth that comforts us and energizes us to keep moving forward. “If god be for you, who can be against you?”
Gilbert Owens is a resident of Roseboro.