“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela in his book Long Walk to Freedom.
I’m sure you’ve noticed it’s pretty difficult, if not impossible, to like everyone. Some people are so irritating, and you feel uneasy or annoyed in their presence. You have negative feelings toward them, and you’ve got to be careful lest it intensifies into something stronger. If we are not careful, it can morph into anger and hatred over time.
The word hate occurs approximately 83 times in the Old Testament and 17 times in the New Testament. The New Testament challenges the idea that one person is allowed to hate another. In Matthew 5:43-45, Jesus says: “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.”
As Christians, we will never match up with the highest ideals of love, but we must realize that hatred is poison. Hatred doesn’t right a wrong, open a dialogue, stop a war, mend a relationship, or enrich us physically, mentally, emotionally, or physically. Hatred saps abilities, talents, energies, and life.
Love, on the other hand, builds lives. It makes people better. It can edify the one expressing the love and the one being loved. Love corrects, while hatred finds fault. Love listens, while hatred only wants to be heard. Love desires repentance; hatred desires retribution. Love is much better.
Nelson Mandela was often asked how he felt about the 27 years of imprisonment. You would think he was bitter, resentful, or even angry. But he wasn’t. He said, “Bitterness only hurts oneself. If you hate, you will give them your heart and mind. Don’t give those two things away.” Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.”
So what happens when you feel hatred towards another human being? It does happen. We live in a world where people come and go and experience vastly different things in all avenues of life. If you hate someone, ask yourself, why? Then, turn your disappointments, offenses, frustrations, hurts, and the anger they cause over to God. Determine that you will do whatever is necessary to ensure that anger doesn’t control you. Forgive people. Accept disappointments and delays patiently, trusting God’s plan and timing.
“Goodness is stronger than evil; love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
- How do you deal with hatred? What is the typical outcome of your hatred?
- Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.” What does that verse mean to you?