The Humble and Lowly Aren't Hateful nor Do They Promote Strife
"16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Don’t set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Don’t be wise in your own conceits." Romans 12:16 WEB"16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, that you may not do the things that you desire. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness,20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit God’s Kingdom.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,* 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts.25 If we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let’s not become conceited, provoking one another, and envying one another." Galatians 5:16-26 WEB
Humility is something that isn't natural to the human condition. When you see it in action, you are truly witnessing a miracle. We show our pride and arrogance more than anything and we also live in a world that promotes it. The "world" has its own form of humility; But lookout, because it is self-righteousness disguised as humility. This time we are going to examine hatred and strife. The two go together well. Where there is one, the other is sure to be lurking around.
The Humble Aren't Hateful
Hatred is a strong emotion that comes about through many channels, but the root is always the same. Pride is always the root of this and all sin to be exact. Humble folk are actually the opposite, loving their neighbor as themselves.
Hatred - ἔχθρα: enmity, or the cause of enmity.
What is enmity?
Enmity - The quality of being an enemy; the opposite of friendship; ill will; hatred; unfriendly dispositions; malevolence. It expresses more than aversion and less than malice, and differs from displeasure in denoting a fixed or rooted hatred, whereas displeasure is more transient.
I think this is very interesting. Enmity is an old word you will find in the Geneva Bible and the King James or Authorized Version of the Bible. I recommend reading them because they are the most accurate translations of the Received Greek Text of the New Testament (Of which I am a fan). Enmity contains an unfriendly disposition, which is no more than unfriendly body language and attitude. Malevolence is personal hatred and ill will of someone. It's more than just avoiding someone but less than malice, which is necessary for injury or murder. Hatred is a good translation because I think that word embodies all of these things. I have been a little irritated with progressives over the years for misusing this word to their advantage. Progressives plan to change everything, including the definition of words. When you hear someone calling another person a "hater" or say someone is "full of hate," I would do a little more research before you accept it. The people using these terms generally desire to cause strife for personal or even collective gain (In their minds). If you pay attention, you will also find that the person doing the accusing is actually the one guilty of the crime.
The Humble Don't Cause Strife
"Blessed are the peacemakers," Jesus said in His Sermon on the mount. Folks that are truly full of hatred and pride are very far from peace. Not too many years ago a politician said: "You never let a serious crisis go to waste, what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not before." The man's name is Rham Emanuel. I don't know the fella, but such a statement isn't one made from humility. Humble folk neither cause strife nor seek to capitalize from it. Yet, there are so many who do. Napoleon Bonaparte once said: "We are either kings or pawns of men." Worldly men only think in terms of self gain and preservation, which leads to the survival of the fittest ("Dog eat dog" some say!). As a result of the sin of Adam and the curse God has placed on his children, the world is now a vicious place and has been since the "fall." Therefore the natural or you might say unnatural disposition of men is that of hatred and strife.
Strife - ἔρις: contention, strife, wrangling.Strife - Exertion or contention for superiority; contest of emulation, either by intellectual or physical efforts.
Does this sound familiar? Exertion or contention for superiority? The reason I have referred to politicians and tyrants like Napoleon is that these are the folks that we either see or know about due to the media that moves around us everyday. What an excellent example of hatred and strife than the political realm! It is a fight for superiority, and many times a contest of emulation. Emulation is an old word that simply means "The act of attempting to equal or excel in qualities, actions, or rivalry with the goal of exerting superiority over an opponent." As you have probably observed, our world is full of people doing this and they will strive to get what they want by whatever means necessary. This is why many of them like Rham Emanuel hope for a crisis or a conflict. It is a diversion so that they can make the changes they think are necessary to build their Utopia without much opposition. Most of the legislation that has been bad for the United States was either passed in the middle of the night or on a holiday. Those who cause strife, and those who capitalize on it range from the high levels of government down to the local civic club in town, and their influence lingers around like an old stale fart. What is unfortunate is when this is displayed in church. Churches who display this kind of spirit have lost their way and purpose. If Paul the Apostle were around, he would probably write them a letter. That's why James the Apostle said things like:
"Let not many of you be teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive heavier judgment." James 3:1 WEB
A humble person is reluctant to teach and take a position of authority. If you have someone who strongly desires to teach and isn't humble and faithful, I don't care if they have a doctorate, do not let them teach. Paul said to Timothy:
"1 You therefore, my child, be strengthened in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 The things which you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit the same things to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also." 2 Timothy 2:1-2 WEB
Only faithful, mature, and peaceful men are fit to teach in God's church. This is because young immature and knowledgeable men and women tend to be wise in head knowledge, but not wise in their walk. This can be a recipe for strife in the church. If you are seeking a teacher or pastor, I would look for someone who doesn't aspire to high worldly things like large attendance and notoriety. Someone that is humble and lowly is what a church needs. I'm not saying knowledge isn't important, but it actually isn't as important as humility, honor, and peace. I know because I was one of those arrogant and prideful young men who had some knowledge and thought that I should be allowed to teach and do great things! I thought too much of myself and my knowledge. I actually was a youth minister for a year or so and I withdrew myself for many reasons, but one of them is that at the time I was young and immature. I also was prideful and prone to anger and strife too easily. My methods weren't those of a seasoned veteran. A person can wield good teaching in the wrong way, and that is exactly what I did. It takes a lot more than good Theological ideas to leads God's church. That is probably why the older men are exhorted by Paul to instruct the younger men and the older women are encouraged to teach the younger women.
"1 But say the things which fit sound doctrine, 2 that older men should be temperate, sensible, sober minded, sound in faith, in love, and in perseverance: 3 and that older women likewise be reverent in behavior, not slanderers nor enslaved to much wine, teachers of that which is good, 4 that they may train the young wives to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sober minded, chaste, workers at home, kind, being in subjection to their own husbands, that God’s word may not be blasphemed. 6 Likewise, exhort the younger men to be sober minded. 7 In all things be showing yourself an example of good works. In your teaching, be showing integrity, seriousness, incorruptibility, 8 and soundness of speech that can’t be condemned, that he who opposes you may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say about us." Titus 2:1-8 WEB
Notice Paul never said anything about having a lot of knowledge. He did say that we should be "teachers of what is good," so we know that right ideas are important, but just part of the battle. Sound doctrine in Paul's estimation were these qualities listed above. He did focus more on attitude and disposition of heart and soul. Only older men and women are qualified usually for this. Now he didn't say "all" older men and women. There is such a thing as an old fool. Therefore, this is why he laid out these character traits. Notice how these qualities are the disposition of humble and lowly folk and not that of ambitious and high minded zealots. Beware of the man who is too eager to be in charge. Most likely he isn't qualified and will likely stir up strife.