It’s Easy to Hate, but Love is a Choice

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By Mark Tetley

If you have watched the news at all in the past few weeks, you have probably seen a story of an airline facing accusations of the mistreatment of passengers. It appears that these days, the airline industry is the target of the public’s hatred. We may want to soften it and call it frustration, or anger, but I think if we are honest with ourselves, most of what we see is driven by hatred. 

It is easy to hate, but love is a choice. 

For years, I have been puzzled by the human desire to find and enemy to attack. It is like there is a hatred that lies just under the surface of our identity that can surface at any moment. The target is whoever we deem to be in the wrong. It can be aimed at an airline, a slow driver during our morning commute, a politician who has an opinion that is different from mine, a religious person who worships differently than I do, a sports fan who cheers for a different team than I do, an individual with an occupation that I don’t like, a person that looks different than me, or someone was born in a different country. The list could go on and on. 

Hatred will surface at any moment, but it takes intentional effort to show love. Choosing love means you will approach every person as being worthy of love and respect as individuals made in the image of God. Choosing love means that you will look beyond what is on the surface of a situation to identify the real human need.  Jesus showed us how to live a life of love and genuine concern. There were many times that he was criticized because he was spending time with the “wrong type of people”. 

It is easy to pile on when there is a mob. Maybe this is why Jesus said to the crowd accusing the woman of adultery, “let the ONE who has never sinned throw the first stone [Emphasis added].” He addressed them as individuals not as a crowd, knowing that if someone is by them self, they will never be as brazen as when they are with a crowd.

In this country, we use our right to free speech as an excuse to express our hatred. Let me remind you that if you are a follower of Christ, you do not have the right to free speech. The Bible gives us specific instructions on the conduct of our words in Ephesians 4:32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (New Living Translation) 

It is easy to hate, but love is a choice. 

Choosing to love means looking beyond a person’s job title, skin color, religious identity, nationality and those things that make them different from you. Instead, seeing them as a human being with needs, strengths, and faults just like you, and treating them with dignity and respect as you would like to be treated. 

The next time you are tempted to jump in with the crowd and target your hate toward the popular target, step back and ask yourself, How can I show love instead?” I think you will find that you just drop your rock and walk away. 

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