Tonight, I watched BBC’s The Diary of Anne Frank (thank you, Daddy, for Netflix). When I was 13, Anne’s age, I received a book on the Holocaust as a gift. I soon read more and more on the subject. I think my parents were initially concerned by what must have looked like fascination with mass murder. They quickly realized, however, that I dreaded reading each word. But my younger self sensed that the horror was too important to turn away. A small part of me believed that I could somehow make it better, that I could bring a sliver of justice into the story. Somehow, by enduring remembrance, I could drive away the hate.
As Christians, we talk a lot about love. I’m not sure that we talk enough about hate. Love is not just the absence of hate, but you cannot both love and hate. If you hate even one person, then you love no one rightly. I believe hate and the acts it motivates are the greatest of sins. Because hate strips others of their God image. They are no longer children of God whom He cherishes. That means we can look a fourteen-year-old girl in the eye as she cries and feel nothing. No regret. No second thought. Not a trace of compassion. Only the desire to watch her suffer. What could be less like Christ? It is an issue the church must confront head-on, everyday. So to get the conversation started, here are some words on hate that inspire me to change myself and then to change the world.
“Hate is a very big, very hungry thing with lots of sharp teeth, and it will eat up your whole heart and leave no room left for love.” – Amish Grace from Lifetime
“If anyone says ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, who he has seen, cannot love God, who he has not seen.” – 1 John 4:20
“Hate is a cold fire and it gives no warmth.” – Laurell K. Hamilton
A Navajo grandfather tells his youngest grandson of two wolves inside of him, struggling with each other. The first is the wolf of peace, love, and kindness. The second wolf is greed, fear, and hatred. ‘Which wolf will win?’ asks the grandson. ‘Whichever one I feed,’ is the reply. – a Native American proverb
“Hating is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat.” – Henry Emerson Fosdick
“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” – James Baldwin
“Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“If only we could stop hating each other.” – Elisabeth Mann, a Holocaust survivor