Learn to Love Those Who Hate

I am saddened and heartbroken today over the acts of violence in Charlottesville. I sat with the news written on my heart looking for words that could overcome frustration and focus on love and social justice on a deep level. This is what came through when I prayed for the right words.

God calls us to love with compassion, tolerance and acceptance, so we must try to look past acts of hatred and violence to see a person that clearly learned to hate.

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

-Nelson Mandela

And if these people learned to hate, maybe there is hope for hurting people to learn to love. Hurt people hurt people. Those who breed hate in the heart of others and commit hate crimes are suffering from wounds and misinformed minds that only love can undo.

When we want to hate others for what they do, we certainly have a strong basis for this reaction; God calls us to respond with love, compassion and tolerance. If we react with hate toward another for their views or heinous acts of cruelty, then we are breeding more hate in the world.

Do we speak out against hate? Yes. Do we put pressure on these white supremacist groups? Yes. Do we feel saddened and heartbroken, praying for the victims? Yes. Do we also pray for those who have been raised to hate so fiercely that they carry out hate crimes? Absolutely.

We can use the feelings of sadness and outrage to motivate ourselves to love deeper. We cancel out the overwhelming hate in this country not with anger and more hate but with love, acceptance, tolerance and compassion toward those that act out with vengeance and malice.

Stay with me here. I am in no way condemning acts of cruelty; while we unite as a nation to put an end to hate crimes, it doesn’t help to put fire out with fire.

Human injustice is one of the hardest things to swallow, for innocent lives suffer from the hate that is passed from one generation to the next. It feels hopeless when this level of hatred still pervades our country.

We will only see change when we change. We cannot change what was instilled in the minds of others, but we can pray for their hearts to be transformed and set a better example for future generations.

We can continue to allow love to penetrate our hearts and minds so that we are the change we desire to see.

We struggle greatly when we attempt to control the world around us, point fingers and assign blame, so I ask you to turn inward and allow your own heart to be transformed.

Love seeks to understand, especially when we do not understand how others could possibly hate so deeply. The answer is not to hate those who do not see the way of love, acceptance and unity; this simply teaches them to further harden their hearts.

We need to learn to accept others—all others—because they didn’t get this way without someone teaching them division and hatred.

If you are feeling the same frustration we are all struggling with today, dig deep within for the darkness that may still linger in your heart or mind. Find those places that want to boil with hate, anger and blame. Then ask the tough questions that bring the light of truth to the darkness.

It’s when we feel most out of control over the front page news that we need to do the work that allows us to be in control of our own reactions and responses. This is how we begin to alter how we show up, how we love, tolerate and accept others and how we may hate, isolate and turn away from the truth at times (especially toward ourselves).

If we attempt to see the error in our own ways, and weed out our own hurt, we can start to build our understanding and tolerance for those who learned to hate.

When you’re ultimately faced with “other,” those whose beliefs differ from yours, give them the opportunity to tell you why. And try your best to treat them with loving kindness, tolerance and compassion. They most likely need an infusion of love before they find a way to undo their own darkness and learn to love and accept others.

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