Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Psalm 139:22

I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies. Psalm 139: 22 NRSV

Perfect hatred. What is perfect hatred? I have really been struggling with this concept all week (notice that I put off writing on this as long as possible). I think I must begin by thinking of perfect hate's opposite - perfect love.

In IJohn 4:18, we are told that perfect love casts out fear. In Matthew's gospel, Jesus gives instructions to be perfect as God is perfect (Matthew 5:48) and tells a follower to go and sell all he has in order to be perfect (Matthew 19:21). I think that perfect love describes God. I think perfect love is something we must aim for in our Christian journey.

It seems to me that perfect hatred would open a person up to total fear, would place a person far from God and would not be a goal for Christians. Yet, the Psalmist is speaking to God about those who are against God and seems to rally behind God by counting God's enemies as their own. It is like saying, "Look, God, I claim your enemies as my own!"

The real danger here is not giving into hatred but in being careful of who God's enemies are. Personally, I want to claim my own enemies as God's enemies. But deep down I know that is not the case. Who are God's enemies? Am I even able to identify them? Can you?

God, we want to be on your side and have perfect hatred for your enemies. But we don't know who they are. Help us to pray for even our own "enemies" and embrace your perfect love instead. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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