I hate you, I hate her, I hate Democrats, I hate Republicans, I hate the wealthy, I hate the ugly, I hate the open-minded, I hate the close-minded, I hate, I hate, I hate….
This day in age, hate is a regular in our vocabulary. We have belittled ourselves to the extent in which we throw the word hate around like a child bounces a basketball in the backyard. Constantly, we are finding new things, people, and organizations to hate. As we lay our head on our pillows at night after a nasty fight with a friend, we mumble “I hate her, I will never forgive her, I will never talk to her again”. We open newspapers and magazines to articles based around a mutual hate of Public Enemy No. 1, Casey Anthony, or Ponzi Schemers.
We are repeatedly told that to those who do us wrong, we should hate. That those who do not treat us well, we should never forgive. We are a society consumed with hate.
But I cannot forget Jesus Christ saying in Matthew 5:43 “You have heard the law of Moses say, ‘Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.’ But I say, ‘Love your enemies.’
That’s why I have hung that very Bible verse on a purple piece of construction paper next to my bed. That way, I’m reminded every time I climb into bed that forgiveness and love are some of Christ’s greatest gifts to us, and that I can give those very same things to others as well.
There have been quite a few people I’ve met in my life whom I dare say I at one point hated. While I cannot admit that I truly hated them (I believe very few people ever experience true hate, that’s a feeling most of us will never truly know), I can admit that I disliked these people very much so for one reason or another. But looking back and asking myself why did I despise them? I find that my reasons aren’t strong enough. Actually, I find that what I did to them was far worse than what they did to me.
When someone treats me poorly and leaves me feeling angry, upset, or frustrated, I tend to act on those feelings. I speak poorly of them, I find new ways to anger them, I don’t treat them as I would like to be treated. I believe that’s worse than anything else they may have done to me. As a follower of Christ, it’s my sole duty to treat others with love and respect and nothing less, regardless of how they may have treated me or what their past looks like.
Now, every time I look at my reminder hanging next to my bed, I find myself continually praying for anyone who may dislike me for one reason or another. I simply pray for their happiness and well-being. Now I’ve found that I’m happier than I would’ve ever asked for, and I’m trying my best to cut ‘hate’ from my vocabulary.