In a culture that, until relatively recently, seems obsessed with “political correctness,” I wonder why the word “hate” has never been banned from our vocabulary? Our culture has “far more words in our vocabulary that express negative rather than positive emotions.” (ABC News, “Study: Negative Words Dominate Language,” February 2, 2005.) Perhaps if we made a personal decision to eliminate words from our vocabulary that expressed feelings of hatred towards others, those feelings would not be spread among us as easily. Perhaps if we didn’t use the word “hate” to describe how we feel about someone, we might focus on what really is bothering us (typically fear, misunderstanding, or hurt feelings) and approach it in a more positive way.
Hate breeds hate. It infects everything it touches. It has nothing to do with God. It has everything to do with evil.
Christ challenges us to love one another. Christ said, “And so I am giving a new commandment to you now — love each other just as much as I love you.” (John 13:34)
The Apostle John wrote that if we do not love each other, it is a sign that we are being influenced by evil. “Anyone who says he is walking in the light of Christ but dislikes his fellow-man is still in darkness. But whoever loves his fellow man is “walking in the light” and can see his way without stumbling around in darkness and sin. For he who dislikes his brother is wandering in spiritual darkness and doesn’t know where he is going, for the darkness has made him blind so that he cannot see the way.” (1 John 2:9-11)
I admit that hate can be seductive. Especially when we are dealing with intense, negative emotions, which seem to have no place else to go. Hate masquerades as power and gives the illusion of control. But it is not. It is not born of the heart. Hate is fueled by energy not of God.
Too often, the seeds of hate are planted in children by the people they love, depend on, watch, and mimic. They absorb it from the culture of which they are a part. When children are constantly bombarded by words, images, and feelings of hate — even in the games they play — they are being taught to hate. It is not an emotion babies are born with. Hate is an emotion people learn.
“Dear friends, let us practice loving each other, for love comes from God and those who are loving and kind show that they are the children of God, and that they are getting to know him better. But if a person isn’t loving and kind, it shows that he doesn’t know God — for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8, the Apostle John) Without love, we are lost.
If we are to practice to love each other and get it right, there is no room for hate in our speech, attitudes, play, or in our behavior. There is no room for tolerating any hate at all.
If we are to survive we must learn to love one another. We cannot love God and hate our “enemies.”
For loving God, while hating others, is no love at all.
Photo by Jaroslav Moravcik