One of the most memorable scenes I can recall in this modern age of television and movies involved an object lesson on unconditional love. Yes, something positive!
The final scene divulges a mother making a final statement to the young man found guilty of killing her only son without reason or mercy. She recounts to the young murderer how she has tried to hate him but can’t. She emotionally declares she has decided on the alternative of praying for him because he will need prayer to survive in the “terrible” place (prison) he is being sent.
Keeping to its simplest definition, hatred is a strong, intense antagonism and dislike. Far too often this feeling will prompt injury to another. When we speak of hatred, there is an entire catalog of meanings that linger throughout our world. Some are interchangeable between religion and culture.
Racial Hatred of Specific Cultures: Jews, African Americans, Hispanics, Arabs
Religious Groups: Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish
Social Groups: Homeless, LGBT community or orientation choice, uneducated, mentally ill, poor, foreign, disabled, elderly
Sometimes the word hate is used so loosely that I am reminded of a lizard’s tongue zipping in and out. “I hate my hair,” “I hate this dress,” “I hate these shoes,” “I hate this food,” “I hate, hate, hate, fill-in-the-blank!”
Predictably, if you were to take a survey of why a specific hatred exists toward another, there probably would be responses of stutters, coughs, mumbles, blank stares, or amoeba-like answers.
Unconditional love is a powerful and lethal weapon against hatred. This love is the genesis of humanity’s existence. It’s the kind of love that loves your children or spouse when they get on your last nerve. It’s the kind of love that forgives another when they are unlikeable, unfaithful, weak, act out in ugly ways, or go against your morals.
Unconditional love is based upon being able to get past behavior and see the value and intrinsic worth of another. It does not mean you agree, support, or affirm their behavior, but it does mean you do not have the entitlement to discriminate against cultures, religions, or other social groups.
In the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son, the younger one was a major screw-up who blew all his inheritance on partying and running wild. But after living with pigs for a time, he decided to go home. When he arrived, his father did not remind him of his bad behavior but instead welcomed him home with a great celebration. (Luke 15:11-31)
All of us are damaged goods, but God does not treat us as rotting garbage in a bin. To Him, we are priceless packages. He demonstrates His mercy and compassion every day. He actively provides for our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
In the scheme of life, we must understand what God values. Is your relationship with your spouse greater than a burnt dinner, or a smashed bumper or headlight on the car or some other infraction? These are things to ask yourself. What is their true worth in comparison to another?
Even when we go through trials and tribulations God is never the Adversary, the enemy, or the hater.
“For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16)