Ps. James Agyin


“El Classico” is the term used to refer to football matches between Spain’s most famous and bitterest rivals: FC Barcelona and Real Madrid C.F. In the Ghanaian context, it will be games between Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko.  The euphoria and escalated tensions that characterise such games is only a shadow of the actual “El Classico” between Love and Hatred. The supporters of the rival teams are one of the significant sources of the heightened tensions that even turns bloody on some occasions. Similarly, the forces behind Love and Hatred may explain why de-escalation of the tensions cannot be possible until the end of the age into eternity. God is the owner of the FC Love with Jesus and the Holy Spirit as the CEO and Managers, respectively. Satan is also the bankroller of Hatred FC with The Self and Evil spirits as CEO and Managers, respectively. Some emotional supporters of rival clubs do not even attempt to follow the match proceedings until the referee blows the whistle to bring the game to an end. Even when one team is leading, its supporters sit on the edge in the stands until proceedings are brought to an end.

Similarly, in many instances, Hatred leads Love on the scoreboard in most games, especially during the game’s early minutes. Somehow, Love comes in to get the equaliser and goes ahead to win all encounters with Hatred.

This article, divided into four parts, analyses four different matches between Love and Hatred and glean unique lessons from them. We will also learn a lot about how the Technical benches of both sides read the games and made their substitutions. Matches between the sides from the tiniest hamlet to the highest world stage are always graced with tensions, intrigues, suspense and an avalanche of off-the-pitch occurrences. The first match labelled Part (I) is a local derby in the household of Jacob. Part (II) was an FA Cup between the two sides, whiles Part (III) will be the “Champions League”. The final bit, Part (IV), was the Club World Cup between the sides dubbed “The Easter El Classico”. The article also seeks to outline strategies for those in the Love colours and their supporters of what should be done anytime it appears Hatred has taken an early lead. It is crucial because Hatred and its Technical team do well anytime Love seems to have lost concentration due to the noisy and intimidating tactics of its supporters. The first leg in all the four encounters played in Hatred’s home grounds (i.e. This world) explains the reason the noise of its supporters appears to have overshadowed the cheering songs and well-organized choruses from supporters in the Love stands. About Love and its supporters, Jesus said, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:16).

Hatred incited the first encounter in Jacob’s household when Joseph’s brothers needlessly hated him. This encounter largely applies to feud amongst family members or close relations that degenerates into deep seated hatred. Joseph’s brothers took offence when Joseph started reporting their evil deeds to their father when they were all out tending the flocks (Genesis 37:2). They did not also take kindly to the ornate designer robe Jacob their Dad made for Joseph due to the special love he had for him. What was Joseph’s fault here? Did he have any control over being born to his father at his old age? Then what appeared to have broken the camel’s back began to unfold. Even though people do not choose which dreams to have while asleep, they envied him for having what they saw as offensive and treasonable dreams regarding the hierarchical structure of authority. After sharing the first dream, his brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us? And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.” (Genesis 37:8). How wrong was teenage Joseph happily sharing some of his night dreams with his blood brothers and parents for help and direction during family gatherings? Is that the case that even the topics to be discussed as siblings must be carefully selected? How come Joseph’s parents could contain, manage and keep the content of his second dream, which suggested they would bow to him someday without giving hatred a field day to operate in their hearts? Did they hear and interpret the two dreams differently? Or was it that his brothers had underlying heart conditions or some undercurrents that made them predisposed to hatred for him? Be it as it may and rather unfortunate, the side of hatred had already left the dressing room and moved onto the pitch to exchange pleasantries for a possible showdown with Love, even in that small household.  

One day, Jacob sent Joseph to seek the welfare of his brothers when they took the flock for tending. As they saw him afar, wondering in the bushes looking for them, they planned, mapped out a strategy to adopt on the field of play to kill him and get rid of the fulfilment of the dream of they ever serving or bowing down to him. When he got to them, they bound and detained him in an empty cistern awaiting his assassination soon after finishing their meals. Joseph begged them to spare his life, but their level of hatred would not allow them of any reasoning. An effort by Reuben, their senior-most brother, to rescue him proved futile. It became apparent that Hatred was having the better exchanges in that encounter at least when Joseph was bound in that empty cistern waiting to be slaughtered. One wonders how the brothers could sit and eat their meals whiles their little brother was gnashing his teeth in that empty cistern bound at the junction of life and death. That is what hatred is all about. It blinds its adherents, captivates the mind and renders their hearts callous until they see mayhem visited on their perceived opponents. Gentle Love started swinging some few passes together when mysteriously, a vehicle to Egypt approached just when Judah had prevailed upon his brothers to spare his life but rather offload him to the Ishmaelites. The brothers finally agreed and had Joseph sold to Egypt. The brothers or Hatred left the scene back home with the notion that they had defeated Love or the one who instead sought their welfare. Wait a minute! The match had just started, and like all soccer encounters, unless the referee blows the last whistle, none of the teams is safe jubilating.

Today, we can all outline areas Joseph might have gone wrong to concede such an early goal. It is said that talk is indeed cheap! Some believers have blamed him for not keeping quiet on the wrongs of his brothers when tending the flocks because he courted needless troubles for himself. Is that what you also think? Is that what the Bible admonishes believers to do? Will the Holy Spirit allow us to condone wrongs or sins perpetrated by others in the full glare of our eyes? Ephesians 5:11 reads, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Joseph, therefore, acted according to scripture and did no wrong in exposing the evil deeds of his brothers. Was that not why, Love also started warming up to meet hatred on the field booth-for-booth? Most believers have today bought into the propaganda of not bothering ourselves in the house, churches or the organisations we work for when we see people doing the wrong thing. Yet we fast and pray to operate in the overtaking anointing of people like Mordecai, who rose from a gatekeeper to the highest office in the Kingdom of Persia.

Meanwhile, we forget that Mordecai rose to that office not only through prayer and fasting but also by his loyalty and the professional act of exposing the assassination conspiracy against the King of the Persian empire then (Esther 2:21-23). Let’s not turn a blind eye to evil no matter how little, just because of the hatred battles it generates. We do not want to uncover sins by others that we are privy to, yet we want God to lift us unto glorious heights. It does not work that way, please! Any act taken per Biblical instructions automatically invokes the power behind Love to keep our defence, hold the midfield and lead the attack anytime Hatred brings it on.

Others have also blamed Joseph extensively for being talkative or telling his family members the dreams he had. They argue Joseph should have picked the right signals when his brothers refused to speak kindly to him due to the special ornate robe Jacob had given him and how he reported their evil deeds to the latter when they came from the field. Yes, a sound argument, though quite bitter and unfortunate to learn that is the reality of life in this temporal life. Joseph did not broadcast this dream on any radio or TV channel when he woke up after the dream. In that case, it could be argued that he was courting needless troubles and envy for himself. It is possible he shared it at one of their household devotions since the parents were present when he shared the dreams with the brothers. Which heart and ears did his parents possess which made them keep those dreams in their hearts instead of developing a hatred for him? Is it not disheartening that those you may quickly refer to as brothers and sisters in the Lord are the very ones who cannot just contain the blessings God might have reserved for you from your mother’s womb? The message from Joseph’s dream was rightly interpreted by the family but processed differently. Was the message, therefore, or its carrier the problem? Or the recipients and its processing that was the issue? Do we think God will change His mind from blessing and showing mercy to others just because we disapprove of it or hate them? In Exodus 33:19b, God told Moses, “…I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” As believers, let us accept and celebrate the success of others in the household, churches and the various organisations we find ourselves in. Your hatred for them will never have any single justification today, tomorrow or in the next life. Joseph, therefore, contributed very little to the heightened hatred his brothers developed for him. In like manner, we as believers would have very little control in the needless qualms people pick against us, which matures into deep-seated hatred. Bound to be hated in a world ruled by its Prince, the devil, believers must only learn not to waste too much time on why the level of hatred but quickly wear the Love jersey, employ its formation on the pitch and intermittently watch the technical bench for ideas anytime hatred is seen to be on the offensive.

Fast forward, a severe famine struck the whole world at the time Joseph had risen to be the Prime Minister of Egypt by the help, workings and machinations of Love. Jacob sent his sons to buy grain in Egypt for their survival and livestock.  So when Joseph’s brothers arrived at his office in Egypt, “they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. “. Joseph recognised his brothers when he saw them and immediately remembered his dreams about them after they bowed down to him. He tried drilling them by calling them spies, but they argued, “No, my lord, ” they answered. Your servants have come to buy food.” (Genesis 42:6-10).  It is worth noting that Joseph’s brothers did not only bow to him; they called him “their Lord” and also servants of him. This great goal was the heartwarming late equaliser by Love for that early goal scored by hatred against Joseph and jubilated by its supporters. The referee then whistled for halftime. Hatred has bowed with the face on the ground and called Love, “My Lord”! In Genesis 42:11-13, Joseph’s brothers mounted a strong defence before Joseph to prove they were not spies. They said, “Your servants are honest men”, brothers from the same father, with one left with their Dad and the other no more in existence. Anytime Hatred bows or calls Love his Lord, the scoreboard changes and credits Love with an additional goal. So Love, at this point, was leading Hatred by a goal just after the second half had begun. Referring to themselves as honest brothers with one of their brothers no more in existence was when the technical bench of Love realised lies and dishonesty had come into the game as substitutes at the resumption of the second half. How do you sell someone to strangers even when he pleaded for his life, kill a goat and smear the blood on his ornate robe, report back home that an animal had devoured him and turn around arguing vehemently that you are honest men? Those who easily hate are victims of certain propaganda or lies, or they are liars themselves. How often haven’t we realised we were made to hate someone, a group of people, by virtue of their ethnicity, colour or race due to a lie we grew with or learned from others? I believed certain stories about some ethnic groups as I was growing up. Even though I didn’t hate them, I was always on my guard to watch such tendencies in my engagements with them every time our paths crossed. As I got the opportunity to get closer, I realised how sweet and honest a people they were and how that lie could have ruined my relationship with them if not for God’s help. So anytime truth begins to take its rightful stand, hatred tends to fade off until it sublimes into thin air. The technical team of Love then made a substitute by bringing on board “forgiveness” even though they led by a lone goal. Remember, the Holy Spirit is the head of Love’s technical bench. Joseph then overheard Rueben, the firstborn, telling his brothers in their native language, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” (Genesis 42:22). Joseph turned away from them and began to weep. Joseph returned and ordered his servants to fill their sacks with grains but put back each man’s silver in his sack and add provisions for their journey back to Cannan (Genesis 42:25).

This was “forgiveness”, announcing his presence in the game and swinging a few passes together. It is, therefore, not surprising to see people weeping uncontrollably anytime they are confronted with letting go of something that hurts them. It is part of the healing process. The famine became severe back home, and they had to return to Egypt to repurchase grain, but this time with Benjamin as a bail condition for Simeon’s release. When they arrived, Joseph instructed his steward to give them water to wash their feet and provided them with fodder for their donkeys because he wanted to dine with them. “When Joseph came home, they presented the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground. He asked them how they were, and then he said, How is your aged father you told me about? Is he still living? They replied, “Your servant, our father is still alive and well.” And they bowed down, prostrating themselves before him.” (Genesis 42:24-28). This was the moment Love registered his third goal against Hatred. Forgiveness’ inclusion from the bench had changed the game entirely and put so much pressure on the defence system of Hatred.  The midfield and defence of Hatred find it extremely difficult to tackle “Forgiveness” when he gets the ball. It is, therefore, not surprising that Romans 12:19-21 said, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord. On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  When he saw Benjamin seated, he again was deeply moved, rushed into his private chamber and wept for the second time. I am sure, so many things were running through his mind, especially the phrase by his brothers that says, “The younger brother is with the father, and one is no more”. After he had washed his face, he came out and, controlling himself, said, “Serve the food” (Genesis 43:31). The steward returned each one’s silver in his sack loaded with grain and intentionally put Joseph’s silver cup in Benjamin’s sack. They were accosted a few miles away and brought back to Egypt. When they got to the palace, Judah and his brothers threw themselves to the ground before Joseph, again, making it four goals to one (4-1) against Hatred. (Genesis 44:13). Dejected as they appeared, Judah mounted a spirited defence to Joseph for Benjamin’s release because per the deal struck, the one with the silver cup was to be an enslaved person in the palace. By the time Judah was done with his submission, Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants. He cried out, saying, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence” (Genesis 45:1-2). Joseph’s brothers terrified and their inability to answer him was the fifth goal Love scored against Hatred. Forgiveness on the side of Love was the one turning all the bitterness and tendencies of paying back his brothers into tears. If you have to weep and cry out indoors or outdoors to get every little trace of anger, bitterness and pain out of your system, do so because you are already on the winning side. The Bible also establishes that the brothers got terrified and could not answer a word to him when he finally revealed himself to them.  In like manner, Hatred is always and will forever be terrified before Love. Joseph had them bring his father Jacob and his relatives, numbering seventy, to stay with him in Egypt. “So Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt and gave them property in the best part of the land, the district of Rameses, as Pharaoh directed and provided them with food according to the number of their families.” (Genesis 47:12-13)

In that hot local derby between the two sides in Jacob’s household which many would like to watch repeatedly, Love whipped Hatred 5-1, and that victory still resounds. No matter how difficult the first leg appears here in this life where Hatred is playing home, Love, the visitors always have the edge over Hatred. The latter is allergic to every principle of fair play on the field, but Love supporters should never lose heart and be discouraged. The second leg, scheduled at the end of this present age in Love’s home, would be a formality where the teaming supporters Hatred has managed to recruit will gnash their teeth. If hatred has taken over your life, please repent and allow Love, which is God in Christ Jesus, to flow through your spirit and soul. You do not deserve to gnash your teeth with satan and his fallen angels, who are the Architects of all hatred in this life. Watch out for the FA Cup between the two sides in my next article.

Team Sheet of Love: Patience, Kindness, Humility, Hope, Perseverance, Truth, Trust, Peace, Joy, goodness, Self-Control, Faith, Resurrection Power, Selflessness, Respect, Forgiveness, forbearance, gentleness, Unity, Compassion, Prayer and faithfulness.

Team Sheet of Hatred: Anger, Envy, Jealousy, Pride, Slander, Selfish Ambition, Unforgiving spirit, Strife, Bitterness, Worldliness, Wickedness, Hypocrisy, Greed, Dishonesty, Lies, Nepotism, Rebellion, Death, factions, witchcraft, Propaganda and racism.

Written by Pastor James Agyin (

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