Learning to love the haters

I don’t pretend to know a lot about love. I’ve only been on a handful of dates in my lifetime. I’ve mostly liked boys who didn’t like me back. I’ve never had a kid or even my own pet. I’m only 24 years old.

Lots of things point to me not knowing what I’m talking about when I talk about love. But actually, I don’t think that’s true. There are different types of love, so I have been told. Romantic love. Friendship love. Food love. Movie love.

And yet, God describes himself as love. THE love.

I am writing this because I follow a girl on twitter who is constantly posting extremely negative things about an entire country she hates. It got me thinking about love. It got me thinking about how incredibly terrible it is to hate an entire people just because they disagree with your own beliefs.

There is this movie I saw once (A Raisin in the Sun) with a monologue that really touched me. Like, when I saw it I said, “Woah. This is good.” In it, a family is going through a really rough time when the Mama says,

Child, when do you think is the time to love somebody the most? When they done good and made things easy for everybody? Well then, you ain’t through learning – because that ain’t the time at all. It’s when he’s at his lowest and can’t believe in hisself ’cause the world done whipped him so! when you starts measuring somebody, measure him right, child, measure him right. Make sure you done taken into account what hills and valleys he come through before he got to wherever he is.

The thing is, it’s easy to love people who love us, who are kind and amazing. It’s easy to love the “good” people. But it’s not easy to love those who hate us, despise us, and wish we were gone from the earth. It’s not easy to love those we disagree with.

It’s not easy to love the abuser.

It’s not easy to love the hater.

It’s not easy to love the deceiver.

But if we say we love people, and yet hate those who disagree with us, are we truly loving?

I think the reason God tells us to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” in Matthew 5:44 is because he was trying to show us what love really is.

Often, when we love those who love us, we are only loving ourselves THROUGH them.

Think about it.

When someone admires you and compliments you constantly, it’s pretty easy to love that person. Why? Because they make you feel good about yourself. It’s easy to love the person who is kind to you. Why? Because they make you feel special. So really, we’re not loving the person because of who they are — we’re loving ourselves and just using a person to boost our self-esteem.

Now try loving someone who hates you. Who lies to you. Who puts you down. Who persecutes you.

That person doesn’t make you feel good about yourself. So loving them has nothing to do with loving yourself. It has everything to do with them. It has everything to do with knowing you are a complete and whole person in Christ and are thus able to love someone who can do nothing for you.

This is the kind of love God pours out on us. We can do nothing for God. We’re pretty dang useless to a being who is whole and complete and has everything. Yet, he loves us. It’s not selfish. It’s purely sacrificial. And me — this girl who has been single for 24 years — believes this is true love. This is the kind of love I hope to have one day for others.

A love that isn’t about me at all. True love. Real love. The kind of love that lasts.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Faith

2 thoughts on “Learning to love the haters

  1. Well put and true. I never thought about why it’s easy to love those who compliment us or are kind to us…it boosts our self-esteem. I’m thinking now of family members who I find are hard to love, but a necessity if they want to see Jesus’ love. Definitely made me think, thanks Faith 😉 God Bless you.

What do you think?