Bombs explode in a busy Jerusalem mall. Terrorists strike again. Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cuts short his visit with President Bush to rush back to Israel. Immediately, America's latest initiative to "broker" a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians is in jeopardy. Israel tensely watches the official American reaction. The Arab world tensely watches the official American reaction.

Unstable governments of some Arab allies are nervous. America never grasps Arab perspectives on the sensitivities of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Israel is nervous. How does American commitment to an Arab alliance affect America's alliance with Israel? This nervousness could affect America's coalition against terrorism. That would affect the war in Afghanistan. That would affect the American recession. That would impact us nationally. Whatever happens, you and I are directly affected.

Because a few people had a hatred big enough to die for, our world shakes. Because a few had such hatred, millions of people are placed in jeopardy. The hatred of a few affects the direction of our world. The hatred of a few affects the direction of our lives. Hate's chain reaction is powerful!

Hate's chain reaction always has been powerful. Trace the long-term impact of Cain's hate for Abel, a hatred that motivated him to kill his brother (Genesis 4). That hatred introduced humanity to a new level of evil. That hatred was rooted in selfishness and injustice. Cain worshipped to promote Cain. Abel worshipped to honor God.

At first, Cain was angry with God, but that was an ineffective, useless anger. So the older brother focused his anger on the younger brother. "God's reaction was Abel's fault!" God warned Cain that sin was waiting at his heart's door, poised to leap on him. He ignored the warning. Because he hated, he preferred murder to repentance and self-control. His hatred still impacts our world--and our lives.

Only one chain reaction is more powerful than hate's chain reaction: love's chain reaction. In Jesus' death, God reacted to hate with love. God set in motion an eternal chain reaction. Only doing good defeats evil (Romans 12:21). Love reacts to evil by doing good. When we love instead of hate, God uses us in love's chain reaction. Only faith in God strengthens us to unselfishly love rather than to selfishly hate.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 9 December 2001

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