I never dreamed that I would live to see the day when I would write an article for Christians outlining practical ways to respond to hate, however, it is obvious that now is the time to do so.
As a revivalist, I was called to proclaim a revival message to a major evangelical denomination for several years. During that time, I experienced two polar opposites. First, through the years the joy of seeing many people either rededicate their lives to Christ or become truly born again after realizing that they had been stuck in religious practice for years. Secondly, I was sometimes the brunt of fierce opposition when I confronted the spiritually dead or lukewarm with the truths of the scripture and the consequences of fruitless religious practice. I discovered that these individuals often resented me due to my convictions. I soon realized how Jesus felt when he debated the scribes and Pharisees. I now see this second group of people rising both in number and influence in America. Hopefully I can share what I have learned with you about how to respond to hate with Christ’s love.
As a revivalist, I have been called an extremist, a zealot, too intense, and a fanatic (of various flavors). The list could go on, but the words are not fit for a Christian newspaper. Drawing on God’s great grace, I have endeavored to always respond with His love in humility and meekness and always offering to explain my exhortations in more detail. However, for some inexplicable reason, my requests were usually rejected. It did not seem to matter to them that I am a man of much prayer or that I had spent many years studying the scriptures. They seemed unmoved by my multiple testimonies concerning not only my conversion but also the incredible answers to prayer and miracles that I had seen God do during my lifetime. Attempting to prove my level of intelligence or recounting my years of ministry experience did nothing to change their negative attitudes. The truth is nothing will soften the hardened hearts of those that love a self-focused life more than they love God. Only God’s answers to our prayers for them will cause them to receive correction. However, the question for us is can we even pray effectively for them if our only response to their hate is to hate back?
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Nolan Harkness
Rev Nolan J Harkness is the President and CEO of Nolan Harkness Evangelistic Ministries Inc. since 1985. He spent most of his adult life working in youth ministry. He also felt the calling of Evangelist/Revivalist and traveled as the door was open holding evangelistic meetings in churches throughout the Northeast. His website is http://www.verticalsound.org.