Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hatred Under Cover

Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers all wrongs.

                        Proverbs 10.12

Stirring the Pot

We all know how it feels to be disliked without reason. Something about us rubs someone the wrong way and we find ourselves dealing with the fallout. Sometimes the unwarranted animosity is so overtly intense that others notice. We rush to explain we’ve done nothing to provoke it and often take the opportunity to appeal for sympathy or criticize the person who hates us.

But does that remedy the problem? Not likely. Instead, it stirs the pot even more and adds fuel to the fire. Proverbs says hatred causes dissension. That’s true for both sides of the equation: the hater and the hated. When we defend ourselves against hatred, we actually contribute to the chaos it creates. There’s a better way to handle things.

Wrap It Up

Exposing hatred won’t kill it. If anything, it shamelessly thrives in open light. The only means to defeat hatred is tightly wrapping it up with love. Love stifles hatred. It boxes it in, leaving it no room to grow. It frustrates its purposes and defuses its power. Rather than laying bare hatred’s sins and injuries, love covers them with forgiveness and healing.

Hatred is wrong. We can all accept that. But it's usually born of haters’ convictions they’re right. Occasions when we actually succeed in convincing haters to change their opinions are, to say the least, few and far between. On the other hand, if we answer their actions with love, two things happen: we find peace and we shield ourselves from useless pain.

Hatred is Heavy

We will never know the full story behind any hatred and vindictiveness aimed at us. But we can be sure fear is the primary cause and whatever about us triggers fear, it weighs heavily on the hater’s mind. In other words, it’s bigger than us. We view haters differently when we grasp this. They aren’t evil people who enjoy pouncing on innocent prey. They’re stumbling through life, terrified of being crushed by the heavy weight on their backs.

In Galatians 6.2, Paul tells us: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” And what is Christ’s law? Love your neighbor as yourself. When we love those who hate us, we help them shoulder their burdens just as we would like them to do for us. Instead of protecting ourselves from getting hurt, we embrace their pain. We carry their hatred, tightly undercover in a blanket of love.

Haters carry back-breaking burdens that love enables us to help them bear.

No comments: