I feel like whether I’m at work, in class, around friends, or at meetings I always hear people say they hate this person or that person. For a long time, I was like this too. It’s easy to throw out that we hate something or someone without actually meaning it. We say it to make a statement, but we never stop to think about how hurtful we are.
Ephesians 4:31 says “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice”. I understand, this is near impossible to do, but keep in mind, we were not put on this earth with the intent to hate one another. No race, no religion, not person sitting next you or across the aisle. God did not intend to place you here with the purpose of hatred. You are meant to be here to understand, teach, listen, learn and enjoy life.
I think one of the biggest hurdles Christians face is the preconceived notion that many people are in a sense “hated” by the religion. Interpret that however you like, but understand when I say those who choose to live by the LORD’s teachings should not pick and choose who they can and cannot like and justify it with the Bible. I'm not saying you shouldn't follow the Bible, it's the closet thing we have to God's word, but the Bible the Bible is not to be interpreted literally in all aspects.
Know that above all, there are no exceptions to love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 reminds us that we should “abide by faith, hope, and love and the greatest of these is love”. Love comes in several forms from familial love to the love of your significant other and your friends. Love comes in the form of respect for those around you, at work, and in your community. Love comes in the form of comfort when someone needs it and in so many other ways.
Hating someone is so much easier than loving someone. It’s a simple, yet strong feeling that we choose when we don’t want to deal with the internal conversation that is necessary with love. When we love, we look introspectively and have to sort out other emotions, moral rules, and thoughts we don’t always want to face. It’s tough, but is so much more beneficial to go through the motions of learning to love than accepting defeat and deciding to hate.
The convenience of hatred is so tempting. Do not be blinded by the easy it brings. Accept the challenge and struggle that it takes to love someone. Understand their flaws and embrace their uniqueness. Appreciate the journey you go through with them and most importantly, open yourself up to them so they too, can learn to love you. As we start the Lenten season tomorrow, take a moment to assess the hate in your heart. We all have some, but take the time to find its source and weed out the evil thoughts. This time of the liturgical calendar is about assessing our relationship with the LORD and repenting for our sins so that come Easter, we can renew our promise to God. Hate is easy, love is difficult. However, love is worth it.