The Storm: A Time of Mercy, Choices and Hope
Hate of a person is a vile internal emotion that will eat away at our soul. Hate, the opposite of love, is the antipathy of what it means to be Christian.
Webster defines hate as: a : intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury b : extreme dislike or disgust : antipathy, loathing
Note the words intense and extreme. The extremity of letting our emotions blot out our ability to love a person effects all rational thought toward others. This is why hate runs against all that we believe as Christians.
Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:11)
Unfortunately, I can honestly say there have been times in my past that I have had the capacity to hate someone. As a result, I can understand the intensity of the anger caused by someone who has done us, or the ones we love, great harm. I am thankful that by building a relationship with Jesus, He has removed my capacity to hate by giving me the grace of forgiveness and love.
We are human and in our humanity we are going to find other people we meet or share time with that we are going to dislike. This is a natural emotion. We cross the line when we allow our emotions to run out of control. A simple example of this would be name calling such as: idiot, moron, bigot, or other more vulgar terms. Belittling people strikes at their human dignity and, although this does not mean we hate this person, it is an indicator that we are moving toward that path.
As stated earlier, hate is is in opposition to love. Agape is the highest form of love, followed by philia or brotherly love, and then eros which is romantic love and physical desire. There have been times in history, such as the present time, mankind has placed eros as the highest form of love. Thus, placing our physical and romantic desires above the spiritual well being of our souls. This disordered love negates the purpose of our existence; to know and love God.
All rational souls long for a sense of love and peace in the world. The answer to this longing is for each of us to return to an ordered love by placing Agape at the height of our pursuits. Seeking and developing a relationship with God quells our tendency toward the irrational actions which, if unchecked, can become hate of ourselves, others and God.
St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Colossians:
Brothers and sisters:
Over all these things put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one Body. And be thankful. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ.
(Colossians 3:14-15, 17, 23-24)
As St. Paul so aptly directs us, a properly ordered, perfected love, with Christ first, will bring peace.
First Agape, then Philia and lastly Eros.
JMJ, pray for us.
God is good,