The Habit of Hating: How do we break it?

“I’ve decided to stick with love.  Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

~ Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

~ First John 4.20

Our hatred of a socially constructed race is inherited.  It’s not natural but passed down to us as a part of family tradition or perhaps, it is a rite of passage into our American society.

So constant and consistent is the message of hatred that it is normal and understandable to hate our neighbor, the stranger and foreigner… even though we don’t understand why.  We don’t even know how long we are to hate, when or if we should forgive.  It is the hatred that keeps on hating.

Though this response is not rooted in the Christian faith or Christ- like, our belief in race makes us unforgiving and some persons or cultural groups unforgivable. We hate people we have never met and whose names we do not know.  We hate people we’ve never seen and are yet unborn.  We hate people that walk passed us and that we drive by.  We hate people that we see on television and hear on the radio.

Hatred comes easily.  Anyone can hate.  But, love is for the strong and only love will survive.  So, how do we kick the habit of hating?  I’m glad you asked.

To love:

1.  It takes faith.  It won’t happen without God.  We need to believe in the Creator who is greater than us, whose thoughts are higher than our own and who thinks higher of us (Isaiah 55.9).  We must exchange our hatreds for God’s love, trusting that God’s way is best.

2.  It takes will.  We have to make a decision to love.  We have to choose to love everyday.  And we have to surround our selves with persons who have made the same decision.  Our inner conviction and conversation must match the convictions and conversations that we surround our selves with.  And love must be the only motivation.

3.  It takes desire.  We have to want to do love every one.  It has to become natural and necessary to exist in love and trust that we can thrive in love.  We have to be attracted to it, drawn to it and passionate about it.  We have learn that we are most fulfilled by love.

4.  It takes a village.  We cannot do it alone.  We need support and encouragement.  We need help to overcome our personal and cultural hatreds.  Consequently, we must seek out partners in love.  We must walk with those who agree to love people and hate race (Amos 3.3).

5.  It takes time.  Perhaps, it will take all of our time as this work will not produce an overnight success story.  It is not completed in twelve steps.  But, unconditional loving is to be our life’s work, to be committed to loving our neighbor as we love ourselves (Mark 12.30-31).  We will break the habit of hating one day at a time and one person at a time.

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