Sermon for August 29, 2021

HATE is like Cancer

John 16:1–4 (NKJV): 16 “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3 And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. 4 But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.

“And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.

Hatred- HA’TRED, n. Great dislike or aversion; hate; enmity. Hatred is an aversion to evil, and may spring from utter disapprobation, as the hatred of vice or meanness; or it may spring from offenses or injuries done by fellow men, or from envy or jealousy, in which case it is usually accompanied with malevolence or malignity. Extreme hatred is abhorrence or detestation. (Definition from Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828.)

Malignity, or how we can easily understand the word today is used in a cancer diagnosis.  If you are told by a doctor that you have a malignant form of cancer, it is then a cancer that has or can spread.  A malignant cancer then moves into metastasis, growing tentacles of cancer cells that moves into new areas and causes new problems.

Insomuch, Jesus explains to his disciples and answering the problem that began in John chapter 15 verses 18 thru 21.

John 15:18–21 (NKJV): 18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.

Now stumbling is an interesting word for Jesus to use.

STUMBLE, v.t. 1. To obstruct in progress; to cause to trip or stop. 2. To confound; to puzzle; to put to a nonplus; to perplex.

STUMBLE, n.1. A trip in walking or running. 2. A blunder; a failure.

(Definitions from Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828.)

One stumble is enough to deface the character of an honorable life.  In this case, stumble in English is the transitive verb because the Greek word used is σκανδαλίζω (skan-dal-id’-zo) and once is say it in the Greek many of you know the work…scandalize!  For whatever reason, the NIV translates this Greek word as “go astray” which would mean that a person is lost.

Think of it this way:

Jesus tells his disciples that they will be hated, but for them not to scandalize or maybe better, not turn it into a scandal. 

Wait?  Let me get the gist of Jesus’ teaching in context!  If the world hates me, and expect it because the people hated Jesus, so if you claim to follow him, expect to be hated.  However, don’t turn that into you getting you and your group of friends to hate them in return!  In fact, Jesus WARNED THEM NOT TO BEHAVE LIKE THIS! (16v4)

In fact, let us go back to 16 verse 2 and 3…

2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3 And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.

Killing can be both literal and figurative with the language of the original Greek because it can mean literally “to slay” or figuratively “to destroy”.  When paired with the idea of scandal, one can strongly assume that Jesus was referring to the figurative, but we must not ignore the literal.

In fact, John understood Jesus’ teaching…

 “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”– 1 John 3:15

So, hate can be like cancer.  Undiagnosed or unrecognized, a malignant tumor can grow little fingers that spreads to other parts.  If you don’t catch it in time, it can lead to death.  Hate is like cancer metastasizing; it starts with one cells and then convinces the other cells around it to replicate that cancerous cell’s behavior.  Insomuch, hate leads to the scandal of libel, slander, and gossip.  Then that cancerous cell has a bunch of buddies, just like him, ready to spread and make all around them unhealthy.

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