In light of recent events, with tiki torch waving hate groups marching the streets of Charlottesville chanting racist slogans, clashing with counter-protesters, and the tragic death of a young lady in the prime of life, it is easy to succumb to the temptation to hate the haters. It’s the “natural” response. It feels good to meet hate with hate. It feels right to give them a taste of their own medicine. And it is absolutely the exact opposite of helpful.
In Matthew 5, Yeshua is quoted as saying:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
This may be the most difficult commandment found in the entire Bible… and the single most powerful. When you hate a hater, you simply justify their hatred. Your hatred reinforces their personal world view, that hate is justified, that it is powerful, and that even the “good” people hate. This simply fans the flames of their hatred.
The late Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr put it this way: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
It is not at all easy to hate the sin and not the sinner, but that is exactly what we must learn to do. We must learn to love the hater even as we oppose the hate. It is the only way to “be perfect”. So, go forth, and spread love. Be perfect.
*** Copyright 2017 (c) by Joel R. Hall ***