Better is a dinner of herbs where love is
than a fattened ox and hatred with it.
Ever enjoy a tasty meal or baked treat and asked the person who prepared it what the secret ingredient is? Love, they often tell you. Which may seem like a just a cute deflection, but really, we all know it’s not. Despite what others may feel is the culinary caliber of our favorite home cooked meal… momma’s casserole and daddy’s chili will always taste the best to us. Because it was made with love.
And it’s great to see how this wisdom is just as true in our culture as it was at the time Proverbs was written. Just about anyone would rather share a humble salad with someone they love than a choice rib-eye across from someone who resents us. Love really is the secret ingredient to life, and almost every culture, every person, understands that love is key to our life here on earth. Even the Beatles sang, “All you need is love” and John affirms for us that God himself, is love, so why do we allow hate to play any role at all in our daily lives?
We can look to the famous Psalm 23 which sings out, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Notice it’s not just a meal, it’s an entire table. A feast. Not just for one. While we may want to think the psalmist is perhaps gloating in God’s provision for him, we know full well that our Master, Jesus, would expect us to share that table WITH them.
So what are we to do? Hold on the hate and ruin the feast of blessings God has prepared for us? Or humbly extend an invitation to those with whom we are in conflict to sit, dine and come to restoration. After all, Jesus got quite the reputation, dining with his enemies. You know, sinners, tax collectors and the like.
So just as love is the secret ingredient that makes everything better, adding hate to the mix just ruins everything.
Holding hatred in your heart towards others ties our hands and prevents us from receiving the blessings of peace, joy, security and hope that adorn the feasting table of God’s blessings. The psalmist David showed mercy to his enemy, Saul. Jesus, showed mercy to another Saul that was his enemy. We know him as the apostle Paul.
When we hold on to hatred in our hearts, even the best things God has to offer can fall flat, generosity becomes jealousy, reconciliation becomes resentment, joy is replaced with bitterness.
So why sit at a table of hate to begin with? It’s better to have the simple things of life with love than lavish opulence with hate… That hate. It just ruins everything.
Prayer for Today
Father, help me to find a way to forgive and make peace with those with whom I am in conflict. Show me how the heave burden of hate robs me of my birthright of blessings in you. Jesus, help me to follow your example of being a peacemaker. And by your Holy Spirit, fill me with your divine love, so much that it overflows upon everyone I am in contact with. Help me embrace the light of love and truth, drive sin and hatred far from my heart. Amen.