Martin Luther King said:
“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Have you ever hated someone? I have.
I could not go a day without seething inwardly about that person, my blood pressure sky-rocketing at their name, my heart burning in the acid of bitterness. My thoughts were a jumbled mess of snide inner remarks, dark imaginings of what I could say to hurt them, what I could do to prove that they were wrong. Then they’d see; yes, then they’d be sorry.
This person hurt me once. But my choice to hate them hurt myself more – far more – and repeatedly, over and over again. Each bitter thought, like a vial of poison to my own spirit, killing me, turning me into an aged, empty soul, void of compassion and kindness. My inner world lacked beauty altogether, being gobbled up by the ugliness of Hate. I lost myself. Do I really want to be this??
You can choose to love.
There is nothing elaborate or difficult about love – don’t let that be your excuse. As hard as loving an enemy can seem to be, Love is actually undeniably simple:
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
LOVE NEVER FAILS.
(1 Corinthians 13)
We’ve been given an actual step-by-step guide to love, and it is so easy to follow. The thoughts in 1 Corinthians 13 can be summed up and applied in any way imaginable…
When that person keeps you waiting, take a deep breath (not a huffy sigh!) and be gentle.
Compliment them, and enjoy their surprised reaction.
Look into their eyes when speaking to them.
Buy them a cup of coffee, or a treat, no strings attached.
Stand up for them when you know it’s right.
Don’t count their mistakes – forgive, and never recall their faults… ever again.
Start fresh every day.
Express sincere happiness for them, when something works out for them.
Hug them. A genuine (even awkward) hug can melt layers of hatred in an instant.
If you dare to love like this, you will experience the most remarkable thing: you will find yourself unable to hate. You see, hate is not about the other person, or “wrongs” that they’ve done to you. Hate is about you. When you choose to Love like this, nothing in the other person changes. YOU CHANGE. Love lights your inner world, bringing with it forgiveness, compassion and understanding, and an abundant supply of more love to dish out. Do I really want to be this?? YES!
Abraham Lincoln couldn’t have said it better when he mused: “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?”
Will you step up to this challenge:
Destroy your enemy today.
Take no prisoners, annihilate them.
Be merciless with your mercy, hold nothing back.
Gun them down with love.
This was originally written on my other blog, A Little Rock, A Little Roll.