“As long as the Arabs hate us more than they love their children,” said Golda Meir, “there will be war.” The schoolteacher-turned-politician was a tough lady who saw plenty of hatred-driven conflict in her life. But could not an Arab living on the east bank of the Jordan have said the same thing of the Jews? But here’s the deeper question: Was she right? Is hating your enemy more important than seeing your children grow up, marry, and have a family?
Hatred comes with a high price attached to it. There is no logic to the hatred that makes a person willing to die in the cause of bringing suffering and, perhaps, death to another, especially a faceless person who has done no harm to the perpetrator. The object of hatred is guilty only because he is of a different race, religion, or political creed.
While there is a trail of blood reaching back 4,000 years, marking the seeds of hatred between Jews and Arabs, the reality is that this blindness goes back to the first family when Cain killed his brother Abel. In that conflict, we see the DNA of hatred which still destroys people today.
But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: “They hated me without reason.” John 15:25
After Adam and Eve were driven from the garden, two sons were born—one which kept a flock, and one which tilled the soil. Here’s the story in brief. “Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.’ Now Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let’s go out to the field.’ And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ ‘I don’t know,’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’” (Genesis 4:2-9).
In the paradigm of this hatred-driven murder, we see the problem of irrational hatred today. People hate people who are different, people who have more than they do, people who seem to be smarter, richer, people who look different or dress differently.
Cain’s hatred for his brother began with intense jealousy. God had accepted the sacrifice of Abel and rejected that of his brother. Reading between the lines you have to conclude that it was attitude more than the substance which God rejected. And how does this play out in life today?
God assessed the attitude of Cain’s heart, saying that “sin is crouching at your door.” Frankly, jealousy turns to hatred which comes through the door and takes up residence, eventually blinding the person who has left the door ajar to both fairness and cause.
Whenever you allow jealousy to breed, a blindness that follows destroys logic and justice.
Eventually, Cain invited his brother to walk with him in the field, and there he slew him. Every body bag that is loaded into an ambulance contains some mother’s son or daughter.
“Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain asked God, casting aside personal responsibility or accountability. The reality is you are your brother’s keeper, and as such, tolerating hatred becomes a disease, a sin, a blindness that must be recognized as an evil and rooted from our thinking.
Resource reading: Genesis 4:1-26