Hate is obdurate and long-standing anger. Anger, when it is
not soon assuaged, becomes malice, wherefore the Apostle exhorts and teaches us
to set aside anger at the very beginning and quickly: "Let not the sun
go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil" (Eph.
4:26-27). And hence we see that whoever nurses anger and malice for his
neighbor gives place to the devil. The devil already possesses him like a
spirit of malice and leads him about as a captive. Hate arises either from
envy, as with Cain who nursed a hatred for his brother, Abel, whose happiness
he envied, and he killed him (Gen. 4); or from an offense done to someone.
Thus, people become angered and embittered at those who have offended them, and
they desire to render them evil for evil, and so avenge their offense. Hatred
is a most abominable sin and worthy of derision. Every other sin brings either
some gain or some pleasure to the sinner. The thief steals to satisfy his soul.
A fornicator fornicates to please his flesh. A bitter man is embittered without
any of that. He sins and he suffers; he transgresses and he is eaten, he
avenges and he endures vengeance. Thus, hatred is itself the punishment and
scourge of the malicious.
If it were possible to look into the heart of a
malicious man, nothing else would appear but only the torment of hell. So it is
that malicious people are darkened and withered, for malice eats up their flesh
like a poison. O cruel passion, cruel and destructive both to the malicious and
to those against whom it arises and takes up arms! When it is not cut off in
the beginning it works great calamities, much the same as a fire having gained
strength eats up many houses.
Malice is the sort of thing that if it is not cut
off at the very beginning multiplies without limit, in the same way as a flame
blazes up on finding dry materials, says Chrysostom. Malice is perpetrated in
1. By deprivation of health, as those people who
harbor malice against their neighbor give him poison, and so damage his health.
Hence that man lives and dies enduring almost constant torment. This is the
action of malice and its destructive fruit.
2. By taking of life, as did Cain who killed Abel
3. By evil talk and slander. A malicious man who
wishes to get revenge on his neighbor and has nothing with which to harm him,
fabricates some vice in him and so carries about a false and evil rumor of him,
or makes something big out of something small, and knowing a twig calls it a
log. So it is that many people endure false slander and abuse. The cause of all
this is malice.
4. The hateful often boast about having
perpetrated malice: "I gave him to know," or, "let him remember
me!" To such people the saying from the Psalms applies, "Why dost
thou boast in evil, O mighty man?" (Ps. 51:3 [KJV-Ps. 52:1]). This
rejoicing and boasting in the harm and destruction of others is the loathsome
and abominable stench of malice. O the cruel and destructive action of malice!
A man that sinned against God and his neighbor ought to be sorry and repent,
but the hateful man boasts of it and is proud, he sins and boasts of his sin,
he commits iniquity and is proud of his lawlessness. In him operates abominable
and pestilent malice. O man! You boast and rejoice now in your iniquitous deed,
but if you do not correct yourself you will someday sigh, shed tears, and weep
when all your lawless acts are set before you and they become manifest to all
the world, as will the rest of your iniquities too. Then will you see your
5. Hate operates and multiplies so powerfully in
some people that they are not afraid to say, "Let me perish, yet I will
get even with him!" Poor creature! Perhaps you do not know what
destruction is? Put your hand to the fire and you will taste its bitterness in
part. You cannot stand it. Will you be able to stand the bitterness of the fire
of Gehenna in which your entire person will be immersed and submerged and will
burn forever and not be consumed? But if you look at yourself you will see for
yourself that the devil, the spirit of malice, works and speaks such words in
You see, beloved Christian, how cruel and serious
an evil malice is? The fruits of malice are evil and bitter, and evil and
bitter is malice itself which gives birth to such fruit.
Woe to the world for malice! It harms everything
and in every way, as we have said above. No one can hide from it anywhere. When
it cannot harm a man any other way, then it injects its poison into a man
through his tongue. However many misfortunes, calamities, and evils there may
be in the world, malice is the cause of all. Woe, then, to the world for
malice, but rather greater woe to those that are malicious! They harm the
bodies of others, but also their own souls. They put the bodies of others to
death, but also their own souls.
They take the temporary life of others, and also
their own eternal life. They destroy others temporarily, and themselves also
eternally. Malice leads to this terrible evil.
If they do not wish to perish eternally the
hateful ought to correct themselves and change their own hateful heart. The
following considerations should help in this:
1. It is a fearful thing for Christians to be
hateful, who are commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ to love not only friends,
but also their enemies.
It is a fearful thing for Christians to do evil
who are commanded to do good to those that hate them. It is a fearful thing for
Christians to get revenge, who are commanded to forgive the transgressions of
others. The avenger will fall into the hands of the avenging God. It is a
fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:31). Let the
malicious soul heed this, and let them put the poison of their malice to death
by repentance and contrition of heart, otherwise they shall appear at the
fearful Judgement of Christ with their sins and receive a reward according to
2. It often happens that though they harm others,
the malicious first harm themselves. The same poison which they prepare for
others they eat themselves. The same sword by which they strip others bare they
kill themselves with, and their sword goes into their own heart. And the same
pit which they dig for others they fall into themselves. This is what the
Psalmist sings, "He opened a pit and dug it, and he shall fall into the
hole which he made. His toil shall return upon his own head, and upon his own
pate shall his unrighteousness come down" (LXX-Ps. 7:16-17 [KJV-Ps.
7:15-16]). And the Lord says, "With what measure ye mete, it shall be
measured to you again" (Mt. 7:5).
Beloved Christians, let us hear the exhortation of
the Apostle, "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath" (Eph.
4:26), and let us assuage and calm our wrath at the very beginning, and while
this infant of iniquity is still small let us kill it, lest it grow and
overcome us. "Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and
hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking as newborn babes, desire the
sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby" (1 Pet. 2:1-2)
unto salvation. "Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which
is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen
God" (3 Jn. 1:11).
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