I [don't] Hate Them!
Recently, I recognized Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by posting some of my favorite MLK quotes. Here is one of my favorites:
At first sight, it may seem that Dr. King is admonishing us to simply be kind and love our enemies, kill their hate with kindness, so to speak. But I believe the statement is more profound than that.
I believe that Dr. King is admonishing that only God's perfect love within us can drive out the hate that we have in our hearts towards our enemies; and with perfect love in operation, we will be the light/example for others to follow and imitate.
Did you just say, "I don't hate anyone, TC. I just dislike some people...strongly. I could never hate anyone!" Well, the Merriam-Websters dictionary defines "hate" as "intense dislike; extreme aversion or hostility." So um... it's hate.
If you read my WHOAment "Breaking the Silence" and watched the video, through my mom's testimony, you were able to see this principle in action. Some may believe it would have been understandable, and even justified, if she would have held on to resentment and bitterness towards my father. During what may have been her life's greatest season of adversity, she was faced with the choice of looking at my father and all of his sins and faults and treating him the way he "deserved" or looking past him to perfect love.
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also." ~ I John 4:18-21 (NKJV)
She intentionally changed how she saw him and used adversity as an opportunity to be a light to my father and others. Anyone who has watched the interview could agree that only God could heal that kind of hurt and betrayal. She is stronger today because she didn't allow hatred to fester. Instead, she used God's love to change her heart.
Bitterness, unforgiveness and hatred are symptoms of heart conditions. Ok, not the medical kind but a heart condition, nonetheless -- and chances are, you have or had one as well.
Let's take a quick survey to see if I am right. Be honest with your answers.
Is there a person (or people) in your life that you shudder at the mention of their name? Does the thought of spending more time with them than necessary make you want to run the other way? Are you irritated by the sight of them? Do you avoid contact with them? Do you wish they would just disappear so that you no longer have to deal with them? Does saying hello to them (or acknowledging their existence in any form of a salutation) cause you despair? You probably feel that your hatred for this person is justified, right?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you, my dear WHOAment reader, have a heart condition that is in dire need of repair. And just like with medical heart conditions, the symptoms of pain and discomfort you are experiencing are underlying symptoms of something more serious.
You may be thinking that you are justified in the resentment and bitterness that you feel towards that person. So I have to ask, what do you gain by holding on to your hatred? You already admitted that seeing them affects your mood and comfort levels. So I don't see the benefit there. Perhaps you know something I don't. Do share. Better yet. Keep it to yourself.
There is a cure for your heart condition and you don't have to look far to receive it. Here are some useful tips for mending your heart condition:
1. Recognize that change begins with you. No matter what hurt/harm/injustice has been done to you, you have the ability to forgive and move forward.
2. Confess to God that you are having challenges forgiving others. He will undoubtedly remind you that He forgave you and that you should follow His lead.
3. Replace your ill-emotions with opportunities (to do them good).
4. Pray for them. Once you do, you will see that you don't have the capacity to hate them because you are praying for them.
For some, it may be an easy, quick process. For others it may take time. But for everyone who put God's word into action, your heart will change.
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you" ~ Matthew 5:44 (NKJV)
I love hearing from you! So let's chat!
* Now that you recognize your heart condition, what will you do to repair it?
* What hurt/offense have you overcome with God's love?
* What are you doing for your enemies?