This week the world watched as a disgusting display of hate unfolded in Charlottesville. I and many people I know were upset and felt helpless. It’s because of this that I knew I wanted this week’s Bible verse to touch on the topic of hate.
So I did what I often do when searching for a Bible verse to share. I turned to Google. “What does the Bible say about hate” is what I typed. What I found was predictable. According to the Bible, hate is not good… duh. Exactly what I expected
Verse after verse touched on how hate keeps you in darkness, how hate stirs up anger, how he who hates stores up deceit in his heart.
All that seemed too negative… so I chose a verse that mentioned hate but with a positive twist. This week I decided to share Proverbs 10:12. Here are several different versions:
Hatred stirs up strife,
but love covers all offenses. (ESV)
Hatred starts fights,
but love pulls a quilt over the bickering. (MSG)
Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers and overwhelms all transgressions [forgiving and overlooking another’s faults]. (AMP)
Hatred stirs up conflict,
but love covers over all wrongs. (NIV)
Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. (KJV)
In times like these when I feel helpless to all the hate in the world, the Bible reminds me to love. To love my family, to love my friends, to love the Lord. Love and pray… this, I can do! Love trumps hate!
I had several different ways I thought about going with this week’s Bible verse but I either couldn’t get my thoughts quite right… or I couldn’t find the right verse.
While searching for the perfect verse to share I did come across one that jumped out at me. It doesn’t fit with any theme and I don’t have a particular story to go with it… but that’s OK.
I just really like Psalm 105:4 (ESV).
Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
I thought about why I like this verse. On one level it speaks to the power of the Lord. It’s good to remember that when I’m feeling weak or troubled there is a place I can turn for comfort and strength.
The other thing I like about this verse is that it is a reminder that a relationship with the Lord is a journey and not a simple destination. It says we should seek him continually. It’s not just a “one and done” thing.
An uneventful afternoon for me was highlighted by some time spent with one of the interns at the office. I always enjoy talking to and working with interns. They’re young, have fresh ideas, and haven’t yet been influenced (positively or negatively) by the workforce.
My conversation with this intern was particularly interesting because he’s from Saudi Arabia. I had so many questions about his home country, his life, and how he ended up attending college in Iowa.
I prefaced one of my first questions with the statement, “I hope you don’t find any of my questions offensive. I genuinely am interested in learning more about you and your country.” He assured me that he didn’t offend easily and in fact enjoyed a good discussion.
What I learned was intriguing. Even though I’m roughly twice his age and grew up a world away from where he did there is a lot that we have in common. I could hear the love and pride in his voice when he was talking about his Grandpa.
There are a few things that we disagree on but we didn’t focus on those. We were both listening to understand… and NOT to respond or argue. That’s something that I, and the rest of America, need to work on and do more of.
With this in mind, I chose a Bible voice this week about listening. Here’s Proverbs 18:15 ESV.
An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
By the way, I’ve never considered Saudi Arabi as a place that I’d like to visit but my mind has been changed. He showed me some photos of his hometown that were beautiful and fascinating.