One of the things I was never allowed to say to anyone, let alone my family, was ‘I hate you’. To many people, that seems like a no-brainer. The last thing we want to teach our children is to hate anyone. Unfortunately, hate is something that is not only a learned feeling, but it’s something that comes naturally to people.
Earlier today, the Mrs. and I went to see a movie and had a great time. When we got home, I went to check the news and saw yet another public shooting had taken place. This time, it was in the middle of a gaming event killing at least four people and injuring many others. The only thing that came to my mind was, hate.
With our culture today so obsessed with hate speech and political rhetoric on both sides, it’s no wonder that many people are falling into what I would consider to be a hate trap. Once a person goes down the road of allowing their emotions to feel hate, it’s very hard for them to get out of it. The end result is often people getting hurt, whether physically or emotionally.
I’ve known very few people who truly hate. The ones I have known, put on a great front. You may never know that their heart has hate just simmering under the surface, until you get to know them or hear them talk about someone who has offended them. On one hand, they can say they love God and, on the other, wish a person were to go straight to hell for something they perceived to be true. Believe me, I’ve seen it happen and it’s not pretty.
Where does that kind of hate come from? The kind of hate that would damn someone to eternal torment all the while putting up a face to the world around them that they are a loving person? I can only think of one place. The great deceiver of our soul. The one who was cast out of heaven and who lives the rest of time trying to take as many people with him to his final place. After all, how can we say we love God and hate our brother? The Bible clearly says, ‘Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness…’ (1 Cor. 13)
It doesn’t matter if you are white, black, red, yellow, or brown skinned. If you’re rich or poor. If you’re from the ghetto or from Beverly Hills. We’re all human and we all have the same fallen nature to deal with, and the potential to hate is part of that. Hate is universal, and it can raise its head even in the most sacred of places as seen in the news just recently.
One of the things I like most about Star Wars is the dichotomy between the dark side of the force and light side. Good vs. evil. They play out the emotions well that pull us into the ‘dark side’: Anger, unforgiveness, revenge, pain, loss, loneliness, fear, and, most of all, pride. All the virtues of the great serpent and all the emotions that will trap us in that hate trap.
What do we do then, with a world so full of hate and only getting worse? The only thing I know of that will defeat hate is pure love. The one verse in the Bible that describes it perfectly says it all.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
The only way I know how to live that verse, is to have the One who is the creator of all that is good, and who IS love, in our hearts. He can change a hard heart and make it soft. He can help us to put down our swords and hold out our hands in acceptance of each other. He can help us to let go of those wrongs that we hold onto hoping that one day that person who committed them will ‘get what they deserve’, and do as He commands, to love our enemy as ourselves.
In the end, we’ll all have to stand before Him. I, for one, don’t want to stand before Him ashamed that I wasn’t able to forgive or love others when He has done so much for me. Every day is a gift, and, every day is a chance to combat love with good.
Be encouraged today. In the end, hate will not win. We are promised that. As dark as it may seem, one day, light will shine and wash away all the darkness. Love will conquer all. In that I have hope and, in that, I put my trust…
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