We are surrounded by hate in America.
Hatred of races.
Hatred of authority.
Hatred of religion.
I could go on. And on. And on.
So, naturally, people talk about not teaching hate. I’m sure everyone has seen the graphic with 2 different colored toddlers hugging with the so-very-true caption, “Hate is taught.” This really is good advice.
But it’s not enough.
As Christians we are instructed to “Love one another.” It doesn’t say not to hate one another.
So what? You say it’s the same thing, right?
Except, it’s not.
Let me put it another way: Scientifically, darkness is the absence of light. Similarly, hate is the absence of love. And, just as hate is taught, so must love be taught.
Contrary to Hallmark, love doesn’t come naturally. We are not born as sweet, loving, caring creatures. If that were true, there wouldn’t be Mombies walking around.
Instead, we’re born as selfish little sinners caring only about our own wants and needs.
The importance of others isn’t taught until later. And, yes, it must be taught. Through sharing, taking turns, not always getting our way, and being told “no” we are taught that we are not the most important thing in the world and that other people matter too.
Not hating means not focusing on the differences someone has, but love focuses on the people with those differences.
You can ‘not hate’ someone by staying out of their business, not being judgmental, and having sympathy for a cause.
Love goes deeper. Love is getting into their business, speaking kindly, thruthfully, and sincerely, and having compassion for the people BEHIND the cause.
(Please, hold your comments and don’t get it twisted. Love is NOT the same thing as acceptance: I can love on an addict by giving them a meal, lending an ear to their troubles, and showing them compassion, but it does not, in ANY way imply I condone their actions or choices in life.)
So, how do we do this? How do we teach LOVE instead of just NOT HATING? By showing love to others.
Not hating is staying out of and away from the ridicule and laughter at someone else’s expense. Love is telling those people they’re wrong and befriending the other.
Not hating is doing the bare minimum. Love is going above and beyond.
Not hating is not kicking someone when they are down. Love is helping them back up.
So as your children go back to school and you talk to them about not being a bully, and about how not everyone looks or acts the same as they do, teach them what love is. More importantly, show them how to love.
LOVE is the only way to fix the hate problem in our country.