Friday, November 10, 2023

The Choice Between Hatred and Hiding

Suggested Reading: Proverbs 10:13-21

In season 5 of Smallville, when Clark Kent and his high school buddies spent their first year in college, Lana Lang discovered a pair of drugs that would kill her and then bring her back from the dead, which she used to try to communicate with her deceased parents (yes, it sounds ridiculous). The near-death experiences became addicting and Lana began acting much like any drug addict would. She was constantly strung out, spent all of her money paying for the drugs and then, when she ran out of money, she decided to break into her friend Lex Luthor's house and steal from him to pay for her next fix. Naturally, Lex caught her in the act and demanded to know why she didn't simply come to him for the money (after all, he was a billionaire). Lana told him, "I didn't want to have to lie to you." Lex was naturally incredulous and responded, "You didn't want to lie to me, but you broke into my house and tried to steal from me?"

Lana's dilemma mirrors a dynamic found in Proverbs 10:18, which reads, Hiding hatred makes you a liar (NLT). Now, if  you were raised in a home where you were supposed to be courteous and civil to everyone, regardless of how you feel about them, or even if you just like to mask your feelings so as not to cause problems with people, this verse might present a problem for you. Naturally, your next question might be, "Well, should I just be open about the fact that I hate that person?" And if that question were the real choice you were faced with then I would suggest that open hatred is less sinful than deceiving someone with regard to your hate. But that is not the real choice you are faced with. The real choice is not between hiding your hatred or being open about it; the real choice is whether or not you should hate in the first place.

Quite often we get into positions where we don't want to tell people about certain things we have done or where we feel we need to hide some ongoing situation in our lives, whether it is hating someone, or being too friendly with the wrong person, or going to a place our friends and family might not approve of. When we find ourselves contemplating something that we feel compelled to hide, our real choice is not whether or not to hide it but whether or not to do the thing in the first place.  If we feel the need to hide that relationship from someone, we probably shouldn't be involved in the relationship in the first place. If we feel like we need to hide our hateful feelings toward someone, then we should take a good long look inside ourselves and see what we can do to change our own heart so we don't feel that way. If we are compelled to hide a purchase from a spouse or a date destination from a parent, we should probably avoid it in the first place.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, their first instinct was to hide - they hid their bodies from each other with clothes, and they tried to hide themselves from God when he came walking in the Garden. The desire to hide can be a good indicator of the presence of sin. So the next time you think about doing something that you feel like hiding from people who deserve to know, do yourself a favor and just don't do it.  

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