A Cure for Rampant Hate
Our world seems filled with extreme contentiousness and hatred more than ever. But perhaps our memories are too short. I remember the ’60s as a time of intense turmoil full of hate and anger. It was a time of protests and cultural upheaval.
Tragic violence and vitriolic racism marked the Civil Rights movement far more intense than at present. The unpopular Vietnam war spawned multiple protest demonstrations and continued for years because of dishonesty by our government. The soldiers paid a high price both in the war and at home. And while the social fabric of American culture turned inside out, the Cold War grew dangerously strong.
During this turmoil, God stirred up a revival that spilled over into the ’70s. Love characterized this revival, known as the Jesus People Movement. It was an unconditional, powerful, and transforming love, unlike the immoral free-love movement popularized by hippies. Many of the Jesus People were hippies transformed by God’s love.
Where did this love originate? God! It was a love far more powerful than hate. What Jesus exemplified through His love, death, and resurrection radiated through the Jesus People to a nation in turmoil.
We live in a time when we need this same unconditional love. A love of forgiveness rather than bitterness. A forgiving love begins in our hearts as we respond to the Lord’s love. This same forgiving love needs to be shown to those around us. Then we will see the Lord begin to heal whatever hate may rear its ugly nature.
Hate starts quarrels,
but love covers every wrong.
We define hatred in various ways—extreme dislike, disgust, ill will, resentment, prejudiced hostility, animosity—you get the idea.
Hate is often expressed by finding fault or projecting blame or making false accusations. Sound familiar? There’s way too much of that going around! Regardless of its motivation or source—it stirs up strife... conflict... quarrels... even war.
Hatred doesn’t have to run too deep to accomplish this. Think of the many times one person hurls, “I hate you!” at another. It’s pretty common among siblings in childish fits of anger and all too common between spouses. Sadly, I know this from experience.
But love is a powerful antidote for hate!
How can we apply this bit of practical wisdom?
The next time someone throws some flaming words your way or tries to start an argument—extend kindness and conciliatory words. Don’t answer with a bitter barb of your own—extend forgiveness and grace.
It will take some practice, but it could change the world—at least your own sphere of it. Who knows, if enough of us keep extending love for hate, the world just might change much faster than you or I can imagine—one opportunity at a time, one relationship at a time.
When someone throws flaming words your way or tries to start an argument—extend kindness and conciliatory words—don’t answer with a bitter barb of your own—extend forgiveness and grace.
Prayer is much needed to extend love for hate in the process of daily life, so ask for God’s help often—even throughout the day. The Lord is an expert at extending grace, mercy, and love to people who don’t deserve it. People like you and me.
Ambassador, author of several books, and one member of the pastoral team of Poimen Ministries. This article was republished in part with permission.