Facing Hate Head-on
When we first met, we would’ve told you we could never hate anyone. And we could never be racist, or cheat on our spouse, or seek revenge on another human being. And, in our naivety, we would’ve sincerely meant it.
It’s hard to even type this, but the truth is, for years we were convinced we were a little better than “those people” who struggle with hate, resentment, biases, unfaithfulness and anger. But those things don’t lie dormant for long. The human psyche isn’t build to carry that kind of load.
Unexpressed negative emotions don’t go away without being acknowledged. Trust us. We tried. In fact, we expended endless energy to keeping those bad boys under wraps! But they’re unstoppable. Sometimes they even come out disguised as other things, like self-depreciation, depression, insomnia or self-righteousness, or a gazillion other possibilities that are equally undesirable.
We’ve lost our tempers too many times to count, and for every time we’ve lost it there are plenty more times when we claimed not to be mad…but we were. Neither of those options is a loving response. It took us years to finally learn to face fear, hate and pain in ways that weren’t destructive to ourselves or others.(And we’re trying to save you some difficult years here.)
Sometimes we still forget. But we keep trying. Because the world needs us to do that.
We’ve had legit opportunities to cheat on each other and we have come to understand how effortlessly we can hurt the people we love the most when we think we aren’t capable of such a thing. Before we could change the destructive impact of our hangups, we had to understand that we are, in fact, capable of destroying our relationships without even realizing it.
We have to squarely face our capacity to hate - every single day - before we can choose to love. And this awareness is an ongoing challenge.
We have to face our hate - more often than we wish - toward people who have ripped us off or caused us pain. And even more so toward those who have hurt people we love.
But here’s the thing. We couldn’t do it without drawing from the Source of Love. Yes, we have to dig deep and admit how difficult it is to choose love when all we want to do is NOT love. But then we remember how leaving our anger and hate unchecked makes the world even more terrifying, lonely and unsafe. That’s not good for any of us.
The reason we wake up every day and choose to love better is because we understand our profound capacity to hate… to hurt…even destroy. We’ve forgiven and been forgiven over and over again. The words of King David’s Psalm are a profound picture of our story:
Then I let it all out;
I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.”
Suddenly the pressure was gone—
my guilt dissolved,
my sin disappeared.
- Psalm 32:5 (The Message)
In other words: God can handle our failure to love. But people can’t. In fact, He can even redeem it. But we keep him from doing His best work that as long as we pretend we we don’t struggle with hate.
We tease about our obsession with crime shows on Episode 5 of the Love Better Minute, but the point we hope our Love Better fam will take away is anything but a joke. It’s a reality that, if we want to be part of of the solution (rather than being part of the problem) we can’t pretend we don’t have the capacity to hurt people.
Ignoring our capacity for harming each other actually keeps the hurt going. Facing it, however, gives us the ability to face our worst selves and choose differently from that point forward.
The following Ted Talk features Sally Kohn, who tells the compelling story of how she confronted her hate and faced the results of pain she caused someone she knew years earlier. The world is better for it.