- The Washington Times - Monday, May 27, 2002

Excerpts from a sermon given yesterday by the Rev. Clevester O. Wimbish at Community Bible Baptist Church in Capitol Heights.

There is a very thin line between love and hate. Love is the key to happiness. Most of us are familiar with how 1 Corinthians 15 defines love. This "agape" love "is patient and kind." St. Paul tells us it is not jealous, boastful, arrogant, rude, irritable or resentful. It rejoices only in the right.
We have this love by a decision we make after being inspired by God's love. Now, of course, the Bible also speaks of a love driven by passion, called "eros." It is romantic and sexual love and it often gets people into trouble. In his commentary on Romans 7, Lloyd Jones says, "There is nothing wrong with the natural appetites in and of themselves. God put them in man for the purpose of procreation." But they have acquired an evil misuse as a result of sin.
And that brings us to the story of Amnon [2 Samuel 13:1-19], the son of King David. His passions ruined many lives. Our world is filled with love games, and our single people know this well today. Amnon was lovesick over a young lady named Tamar. She was also the child of King David, so she was Amnon's half-sister. We joke about lovesickness, right? Well, the Bible says it happens.
Amnon had a friend name Jonadab, a "clever young man." You must be aware of friends who are "clever" in this way. He said to Amnon, "You can have anything. You just have to know how to get it." So they made a plan. Amnon played sick to win his father's sympathy. You parents who have students in college: Maybe they are lovesick. They can only think about one person. Lovesickness can cause disaster.
So Amnon said, "If my sister cooks for me, then I will feel better. Let her come and bake a cake." He had a plan. And when a plan is driven by passion, everyone is expendable. Amnon lies to his father and deceives his sister to get what he wants.
As often happens, Tamar had no clue of his designs. She is baking the cake and Amnon tells everyone to leave. Parents, you must be careful leaving your children alone, even at home. Well, Amnon grabs Tamar, saying, "Come, lie with me." But she took a stand. Thank God for people who take a stand. She said, "No, my brother, do not force me, for no such things should be done in Israel."
She would not be a part of the moral decline of society. We should be proud of our young people who take this stand. Tamar stood on the word of God. She now saw his plan and said, "If you do this thing, I will be shamed and you will be a fool." Once you do such a thing, it is done. You cannot reverse the hands of time. But the Bible says he was stronger than she. Another translation says "he raped her."
Today we read about this new drug. It makes you fall asleep, and you can be raped on a date. Everyone wants to feel loved, but be careful. Jesus said, "Be wise as a serpent." Watch as well as pray.
And then the most terrible of all. After the rape, "Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred was greater than the love he had for her." There's a thin line between passionate love and hate. So much that is packaged as love is really lust.
How can love become hate? Amnon realized his sin and began to blame her. He called his servants and said, "Put this woman out." Tamar said that was worse than his crime. But he was not man enough to admit his wrongdoing. She is shamed, but he ought to be. Many innocent people carry that shame for years. They begin to think, "Something is wrong with me."
Don't let your passions disgrace you. Agape love is a decision. But how do you control your passions? With a supernatural power, available to everybody by belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, "To them that believe, I give power."

Next week: a sermon by the Rev. Kerry L. Stoltzfus at Potomac Presbyterian Church in Potomac

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