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From the book, THE WORKS OF THE FLESH: Understanding and Defeating the Works of the Devil.

Available in e-book and paperback formats on Amazon.

  In my last chapter I addressed the sixth fruit of the flesh: Witchcraft, or being involved with the supernatural. in this chapter I would like to address the seventh fruit -- a fruit that has caused much turmoil and anguish for humanity for thousands of years: HATRED.

       Hatred is behind family friction, conflicts with neighbors and fellow workers, national turmoil, ethnic strife, religious wars and  international catastrophes. It is hatred that daily kills millions in acts of vengeance and it is hatred that led to hundreds of millions of death in devastating wars throughout time.

       Hatred is a work of the flesh. Hatred is what drives Satan and his demons. Hatred is what drives the multitudes of the nations. Hatred is pulling great numbers of families apart.

       Yet, from the beginning, God made his philosophy clear in regards to hatred:

                      Leviticus 19:17  "You shall not hate your brother in your heart."

       Hatred originates and hides in the heart. God commands that feelings of hatred must not be allowed to enter into our hearts and that they must be driven out, if they are found to be in our hearts.

       In Proverbs 10:12 we find that "hatred stirs up strife," that is hatred invariably leads to conflict if not addressed.

       Proverbs 10:18 tells us that, "Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool."

      This scripture tells us that hatred can be out in the open or well hidden. Some people hate but act the part and hide their true feelings. Others act on their hatred by spreading slander. Their hatred is obvious by the venom they spread about others.

       Today we will take a close look at hatred. We will first of all look at the causes. We will then look at God’s expectations in regards to how we deal with others. Finally we will try to look at ways of addressing strong feelings of resentment that can lead hatred and bitterness.


       The causes of hated are several. This article will discuss seven.

1.   Jealousy/envy

       Jealousy and envy can lurk in the innermost parts of our being. No human being can say that they have been free of these feelings. They are there and they can easily surface and cloud our thinking.

       Envy has been around a long time. Satan may very well have been the first to feel jealousy and envy and to nurture them to the point of hatred. Clearly you don’t try to dethrone your Creator without a level of hatred.           Satan was extremely envious of God and all He stood for and hated Him. In time he wished Him dead, though it was not possible.

John 8:44 "You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning..."

       Satan also wished the first two humans dead and did his best to get them to sin and inherit the death penalty.

       Satan’s spirit of envy was then inherited by Cain, who because of envy killed his brother.

       Envy is a very powerful emotion. Uncontrolled it will lead to resentment and hatred and finally potentially very evil actions.

2.  Humiliation

       Have we ever experienced humiliation? All of us have. It is a painful experience. It is the kind of experience that is hard to forget -- especially if it’s unjust. Some never forget. Some store it away until they finally find the opportunity to get even.

       Why does Satan hate God now more than at the beginning? In part, because he was humiliated by God before all the angels. Satan was and is a proud being. When he lost the war he was humiliated before all the angels and was cast out and thrown onto the earth. Satan has never forgotten that and is filled with hatred toward God and His children more than ever before. 

       Another example is that of Saul and David. Saul’s hatred toward David began with a public humiliation.

1 Samuel 18 So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely. And Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. 6 Now it had happened as they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. 7 So the women sang as they danced, and said: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands."

 8 Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 So Saul eyed David from that day forward. 10 And it happened on the next day that the distressing spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied inside the house. So David played music with his hand, as at other times; but there was a spear in Saul’s hand. 11 And Saul cast the spear, for he said, “I will pin David to the wall!” But David escaped his presence twice.

       Thus, envy is a force that we must be on guard of. It is a force that must be controlled or it will control us.

3.  Feeling betrayed

       Have we ever felt betrayed?  Usually when betrayal takes place it is most painful, especially when we are betrayed by someone we trusted, such as a close friend. I have been betrayed a few times by people in whom I invested much energy and time; people whom I respected and trusted. Finding out that I had been wrong and that my sacrifices where being repaid with evil was in some cases very painful. That realization can , lead to anger and bitterness.

       One such example is when Saul felt betrayed by own son and almost killed him. 

I Samuel 20: 24 So David hid in the field, and when the New Moon festival came, the king sat down to eat. 25 He sat in his customary place by the wall, opposite Jonathan, and Abner sat next to Saul, but David's place was empty. 26 Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, "Something must have happened to David to make him ceremonially unclean—surely he is unclean." 27 But the next day, the second day of the month, David's place was empty again. Then Saul said to his son Jonathan, "Why hasn't the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?"

 28 Jonathan answered, "David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, 'Let me go, because our family is observing a sacrifice in the town and my brother has ordered me to be there. If I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away to see my brothers.' That is why he has not come to the king's table."

 30 Saul's anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, "You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don't I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you? 31 As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send and bring him to me, for he must die!"

 32 "Why should he be put to death? What has he done?" Jonathan asked his father. 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David.

       Have we ever felt betrayed? Have we ever invested much time, energy, trust in a person only to find out that the person was backstabbing us? It has happened many times.

       Trust is a precious commodity. When we offer our trust we have given another person one of the most precious thing we have. When trust is betrayed the emotions of resentment and hatred can be overwhelming.

4.  Feeling used

       This is a special kind of reaction. This is based on the realization that someone we trusted was actually intentionally using us for his/her own selfish reasons. This is the realization that a trusted person had been playing a game to gain something from us and that we were nothing but "tools" in their hands.

       The realization can be traumatic and devastating. The result can be an eruption of powerful feelings and intense anger and hatred. 

5.   Seriously hurt self-esteem

       Our self-esteem is our sense of worth. We all want to have a sense of worth. We all want to believe that we have worth. On rare occasions someone comes along someone who shatters our self worth and leaves it in pieces. The result can be outward or hidden hatred.

We find one such example in Genesis 39:14-20:

 1 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. 2 The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority.

5 So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field. 6 Thus he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate.

Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. 7 And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph (Started lusting), and she said, “Lie with me.”

8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. 9 There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

10 So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her.  11 But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, 12 that she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. 13 And so it was, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and fled outside, 14 that she called to the men of her house and spoke to them, saying, “See, he has brought in to us a Hebrew to mock us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. 15 And it happened, when he heard that I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me, and fled and went outside.”

16 So she kept his garment with her until his master came home. 17 Then she spoke to him with words like these, saying, “The Hebrew servant whom you brought to us came in to me to mock me; 18 so it happened, as I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me and fled outside.”
19 So it was, when his master heard the words which his wife spoke to him, saying, “Your servant did to me after this manner,” that his anger was aroused. 20 Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined. And he was there in the priso

       This woman had a very healthy self-esteem. She probably was a very good-looking woman -- and knew it. She most probably had attracted the attention of many men and had loved it. She may have cheated on her husband before. Suddenly this Hebrew man comes along and rejects her offer—he rejects "her." He hadn’t tried to seduce her. She willingly offered herself – and he had the gull to do the unthinkable: refuse "her." Her self-esteem must have been pierced and deflated greatly. "How dare he? How dare he puncture my ego?"

       The result? Resentment, anger, bitterness, and revenge. The rest is history.

       Has our ego been punctured lately? Have we felt deflated? Have we been put down directly or indirectly? Has someone said something that deflated us? What have we done with those feelings? Are they seething inside our minds? Are they begging to get even?

    6. Feeling cheated

       Some of us at times have felt cheated and slighted. In some cases we may have worked extremely hard. We may have worked extremely hard for years. Others around us may have taken the easy way; they may have put out a fraction of our effort. They reserved no recognition and yet guess who got the recognition? This is a "tough-to-take" trial and the feelings of resentment can last for years.

       In Genesis 27 we read about Jacob and his mother cheating Esau of his blessings. Jacob deceives his father makes it seem that he is his brother Saul and Jacob, Being old and blind blesses him. Esau finds out that he’s been cheated And becomes extremely angry. Realizing this, Jacob Flees to Laban  Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob" (Gen. 27:41).

       Esau meant it. In the past some Christians have been lied to, a few have been cheated by false brethren, maybe some of you have gone through the experience. It has been reported in the news that cunning swindlers know that Christians are some of the most naïve people on earth. Crooks, in fact ,every year swindle Christians of hundreds of millions of dollars. They usually work their way into a congregation; they become seemingly committed, caring Christians;  they join the choir, make sizeable contributions to the church, earn the trust of the pastor and then they unfold their plan: "investments." Fool-proof investments and a portion of the gains will go to the church. Of course the person ends up ripping off hundreds and then disappears. How do these people feel afterwards? This problem has become epidemic to the tune of hundreds of millions a year.

        Lorene Yue, a "Your Money" staff writer, wrote a fascinating article about this problem titled. "Scammers' Latest Target: Churches."

       "State regulators are concerned that scam artists are cranking up affinity fraud -- where scammers target members of a particular ethnic or community group -- by preying on churches.
       Scammers start by recruiting unsuspecting members or the clergy, or posing as ministers themselves, to push promissory notes "guaranteed" to make money for the church as well as its parishioners. They claim you're making a smart investment in real estate, overseas currency or gold mines in Africa. And unsuspicious consumers, lulled by the trust in their religious leaders, fork over the cash for what turns out to be an empty promise. In one 2002 case, for example, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Abraham Kennard with bilking members of 38 churches out of $3 million by selling unregistered securities under the guise of a church funding project.


     Others lend large quantities of money to a Christian brother without legal documents and the money is never returned. Not talking about small amounts – tens of thousands. Someone lent a large sum to someone he had known and trusted for years and did not get a legal document. The supposed brother didn’t pay him back and left the church. The result? Anger and bitterness.

     7.  Competition

       This is another one that emerges on occasion and is best seen in Acts 19: 21.

21 When these things were accomplished, Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” 22 So he sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, but he himself stayed in Asia for a time.
23 And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way. 24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana brought no small profit to the craftsmen. 25 He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said: “Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade. 26 Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands. 27
So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship.”
28 Now when they heard this, they were full of wrath and cried out, saying, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” 29 So the whole city was filled with confusion, and rushed into the theater with one accord, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, Paul’s travel companions.

       But what about us? Are we in competition with someone in or out of the church; It could be about a position; It could be about material possessions; It could be about a person. This has and can lead to resentment.

       Hatred, as we have seen, can originate in various ways. We need to be aware of these factors as we too are not immune to the possibility of resentment and hatred.

       But what can we do about dealing with resentment and hatred? What can we do if resentment or hatred is already in our heart?

       For the next part of this sermon I would like to remind all of us of some key points that might help us.First of all, the very first point we all must chisel in our minds is the fact that hatred is deadly – "for us" -- if we harbor it.

       Galatians 5 warns us that people who harbor hatred will not enter the kingdom of God. Plain and simple. It’s that serious.

      1 John 2:9 -- He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.

1 John 4:20 -- If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?

1 John 2:11 -- But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

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

Hatred is a great danger, therefore, and all Christians must be free of its poison.


                                        Before Hatred Comes Resentment

       That is the warning sign. Dealing with resentment is much easier than dealing with the next stage which is bitterness and hatred.

       Feelings may be understandable. People may have wronged us and it’s not our imagination. We may have been hurt, we may have been betrayed, we may have been treated unkindly and unfairly and we are not imagining it. We may have the right to be upset, and resentment may have an understandable cause. Yet for us Christians resentment is the warning signal that we could be moving toward trouble---serious trouble

       How can we know if the resentment is becoming a serious problem?

a.     If it’s all consuming. If it’s with us and it’s difficult to let go of it. If we are constantly thinking about what the other person has done to us, and we have trouble letting go. In other words, if it becomes an obsession.

b.    If the feelings of anger are not decreasing and might actually be on the increase, though a significant amount of time has elapsed.

c.     If we have trouble praying for the person who harmed us. In fact, that is the way we know if it may be turning, or if it may have turned into bitterness or hatred. We simply refuse to pray for the other person.

d.    If we look forward to seeing something evil happen to the other person. This may be unspoken. It may be unstated, but it’s a "hidden" wish. It’s so easy to wish that the other person pay. It’s so human to desire that justice be rendered -- our way. But God who knows all the facts and sees what we don’t see and knows what we don’t know, who wants what is best for all, may not respond our way. In fact if we desire retribution a bit too much, God will have to deal with two problems: them and us and may have to correct us as well.

e.     If we take pleasure and feel good inside when something painful happens to the other person.  This is carnal and not from God. If we love our enemy, we certainly won’t celebrate when something bad happens to the other person. In fact we, if we are truly converted Christians, ought to feel sorry for the other person and hope that the pain they are suffering will bring them to a state of repentance.

        If some or all of these symptoms are there then there is much to worry about. In fact they are symptoms that Satan has done his job and has done it well, not just in the offending party but in the offended party as well.

       In fact Satan is so cunning that he can actually transform the innocent party, the party that has received the harm, into a hating, bitter person who could lose his or her spiritual salvation, even though they are the recipients of the offence.

                       Satan Uses Offenses to Spiritually Knock Out Several People at a Time.

        All he needs is one or more humans in our lives that he can manipulate to create one of the causes listed above and one or several people can be poisoned with anger and resentment.

       All he needs is one member, one deacon, one minister, to offend us or humiliate us and the job, if we don’t watch it, and the job is done.

       When the Apostle Paul said that “in many things we offend many,” he was including himself in the group. In fact, I am certain that, without wanting to, even the Apostle Paul may have offended others. In fact, he may even had to apologize on occasion. Ministers can and have offended members without wanting to. Members have offended ministers without wanting to. Some times words can add salt to a long-standing wound and create greater pain. Satan loves all this, because out of it he can kill many birds with one stone.

         Offenses are the stone that can kill multiple people. One stone thrown by Satan at the right time and at the

right person can leads to multiple spiritual deaths.

        The Apostle Paul knew full well about this reality and warned us:

Hebrews 12:15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;  

       Let’s analyze this scripture closely.

“Looking carefully.” Be very attentive for this is a very important warning. In fact this is a life or death warning because, as the scripture adds, we may “fall short of the grace of God.” In other words we may compromise our salvation. How? Because a "root of bitterness" might rise among you, or in you. Not just any root. It’s a "poisonous" root.

“And by this many can be defiled.” And because of this many can be poisoned.

       All you need is one person, a friend, a relative, someone we hold in high esteem to spew out poison about other members or about the ministry and many, MANY can be poisoned.

       You all know about bowling. One need not hit all the pins at once to throw down all the pins; one only need hit one or two and all the others will be pushed down and fall.

       Satan works the same way. He is always looking for someone in the congregation who is weak who can be the first pin who can push down as many other pins (members) as possible.  And he has succeeded all too many times.

       How many families have left the church together? How many friends have left the church together? Way too many.

       Jesus Christ knew that Satan would have used this very effective weapon and made sure that his brothers and sisters would receive the appropriate antidote. It is found in Matthew 5: 44.

Matthew 5:44 -- But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

       Let’s now analyze in depth this scripture. 

"Love your enemies." This is a huge task that the carnal human mind cannot comprehend. In fact it is humanly very hard to do.

        In some cases it will take a great intervention on God’s part to give us love toward someone that has done us much harm. It will take the love of God. It will take a miracle.

       It will also take another Divine intervention to do what is next: Bless and do good to those that curse us and hate us. Pray for their well being. We are then told to do good to those who harm us. Elsewhere we are told to overcome evil with good. 

       This is done by asking God to give us wisdom lest we add to greater problems. Therefore by using God’s wisdom we do good for the enemy in a way that is appropriate and will not add fuel to the fire but will help to pour water on the fire.

       In some cases the wise thing to do is to simply stay away and we do good to the person simply by praying for them especially that they become aware of their destructive ways.

      And this takes us to the last point. We are told to do something very hard. Pray for those that hate us and use us spitefully.

        Pray for doesn’t mean pray against. It means praying that they see themselves and their evil ways, that they stop self-destructive behaviors, that they grow and become better people; that they stop attitudes that that lead them to harm and self-destruction.

        All of these actions are very hard to do. In fact in some situations, the harm done is so great that it is impossible to do. That is why I said "it takes a miracle.This miracle must come from God. This miracle will only take place with abundant prayer and fasting and, of course, Bible study.

       When we are hurt terribly by an insensitive, calloused, mean individual, especially one that we may have trusted and loved, it is very easy to seek justice. If justice does not occur on our time or in our way, we may become disillusioned with God and we may pray less or stop praying altogether.

       In doing so we will open the door to Satan to come in and rule our minds. When this happens bitterness and anger will multiply. What follows is ever- increasing hatred and finally a wish for revenge which may even translate in actions of revenge.

       Thus it is critical that during such times we fight back with more prayer and more fasting. It is critical that we resist Satan so that he will flee from us.

       How have we handled resentment in the past? Have we felt hatred toward someone? Are we feeling such feelings today?

       Have we handled the feelings God’s way or Satan’s way?

Titus 3:3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.

       This is how we were. This is not how we must be today. We must be totally different, like Jesus Christ who

even loved those who put him on a cross.

        In conclusion, hatred is a powerful and destructive mental state. It has several causes but it always leads to terrible consequences.

       To fight it, we must use spiritual weapons and not wait for the situation to get out of hand. When we are being abused, mistreated, betrayed and stepped on, it’s time to pray more and fast more so as to have power we don’t have, to do what otherwise is nearly impossible to do: love those who hate us.

        It is a daunting task but it is possible with God’s help.


The Works of the Flesh:  Adultery, Fornication, Uncleanness, Lasciviousness, Idolatry, Witchcraft, Hatred, Variance, Emulations, Wrath, Strife, Seditions, Heresy, Envy, Murders, Drunkenness, Revelings.

The Fruits of the Spirit:

  1. Love
  2. Joy
  3. Peace
  4. Longsuffering
  5. Kindness
  6. Goodness
  7. Faithfulness / Faith
  8. Gentleness/ Meekness
  9. Self-control

© Copyright, Michael Caputo, 2009.