How do you choose love over hate? It’s not always easy. But hate is like a festering sore that spreads. Sometimes it seems like it’s all around us. I wonder how such a huge mess can possibly be fixed. But just when I am about to despair, I am reminded of the answer – to choose love over hate, with kindness.
That may seem like a tall order for just one person. After all, how can just one person make a difference? For me, the answer is the same as the question – one person makes a difference one person at a time. I will have a challenge for you in a moment, but first, let’s look at some ways that you can choose love over hate – And what a difference it can make.
What Does Choosing Love Over Hate Mean?
To choose love over hate often means taking the harder path. It means stepping back and thinking deeper, oftentimes it means learning more.
Which one is Stronger – Love or Hate?
Hate has power. It stirs up strong emotion and it destroys. It can destroy physical objects, large and small and it can also tear down things that are not as readily seen but very strongly felt, such as relationships.
There are certain times to be angry, and there are circumstances where hate is appropriate. For example, God hates sin and wickedness. That’s not the kind of hate that I am talking about – anything that God does is righteous.
Hate and fear are often intertwined – but they are overcome with love.
Bible Verses About Choosing Love Over Hate
This is a subject that has been on my mind for some time. For me, the Bible is the place I turn when I need guidance. Here are some verses that I found about choosing love over hate and about love overcoming both fear and hate.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.” – II Tim 1:7
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that fearth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” – Psalms 37:1-4
“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12: 17-21
What Choosing Love Over Hate is the Harder Path
That last passage is hard sometimes. When someone does you wrong or disagrees with you, it’s very easy to get angry and to react out of that anger. Our natural instinct is to come back with something equally as hurtful because we have been hurt. We want payback, and sometimes even revenge.
That makes a great premise for movie villains, but rarely benefits anyone in real life, even if it is the easy path.
What’s harder is self-control. It’s the putting aside of self and choosing to react out of compassion instead. It’s taking the high road, and it’s stopping ourselves from reacting like we really want to and snapping back.
Looking at the Path Your Actions Leave
Choosing love over hate is a choice. It’s not always an easy one either. Think through the consequences of your choices. What kind of path is it leaving? Is it healing and uniting, or is it destructive and dividing? Is it filled with love and understanding, or does it leave hatred and wounds?
Take the other person’s feelings into consideration, as well as your own. Think about the results of your actions.
Kindness is Choosing Love Over Hate
Like most answers to big questions in life, the answer to how to choose love over hate is surprisingly simple – it’s kindness.
Let me share an example with you. I went to a laundromat recently to wash some clothes since we were camping. Immediately, when I pulled up, I spotted a man sitting in an older model van with all the doors open. He was wearing only a pair of worn shorts, and flip flops. He had a white beard and his bare chest was sweating profusely as his dog kept him company in the back seat. His eyes watched me intently as I carried in my laundry. Truthfully, I felt a bit uneasy.
A woman that I assume to be his wife was inside doing laundry. She kept mostly to herself, but when I jokingly commented that “I thought arcades were bad at eating money.” She agreed and told me that she had spent $25 the previous week on 6 loads.
Looking Hopeless and Forgotten Kindness
She looked approximately the same age as him, but her black hair was greasy and unkept. Her skin looked haggard and she labored with bending required to pull the clothes from the machines. I heard her breathing heavily as she pushed the cart back and forth. She looked bleak and hopeless.
They got in a bit of a shouting match while I was there over something little. She yelled to me that “All that man does is complain about everything!” (Ok, so that was not quite what she said. If I was going to quote it 100% accurately, I would need to insert a few curse words.)
I wondered to myself if they had forgotten how to be kind to one another. Had they at some point forgotten to choose love over hate? Their words to one another were angry, cutting, and filled with despise. There must have been a time that they found good qualities in one another. When had hate crept into a relationship that started with love?
A Few Coins of Kindness
As I stood and folded my clothes, contemplating these things, I remembered something. Those act the most unloveable are usually the ones that need it the most. I resolved to give her the few remaining coins in my pocket. If clothes for one week is $25, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that clean clothes for a month is around $100-$125. Two months of that is enough to buy a used machine. They were in obvious need. The coins in my pocket might not be much, but it would help if she was a few coins short.
As I turned to leave, I noticed that he had come inside and they were talking to each other with concerned looks on their faces. He called out and asked if I had any jumper cables. I always carry jumper cables – just in case. They both looked mildly surprised and I told them that I was almost done and would pull around as soon as I got my clean clothes in the van.
He went back outside and as I passed her, she looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said “I’m so sorry.” Like she was not worthy of my attention, time or help. My heart broke just a little. I dropped the coins into her hand with a kind word about helping for next time. I assured her that helping was no problem. She looked confused and amazed.
Desperation and Expectation of Hate
In her eyes, I saw desperation and the expectation of not being treated like a real person. Her rough exterior was a defense. I saw a person that had been through hard times and was used to being treated with hate. It’s better to lash out and not expect anything from anyone to take a chance on being kind and being rejected.
What neither of them realized was what a blessing that they were to me. Her husband was more than competent in jumping their van. I noticed that my kindness seemed to diffuse the tension between them. They pulled together and started treating each other with kindness and respect too.
Kindness goes a long way and it’s those that are the hardest to love that need it the most.
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The More Kindness You Give, The More it Comes Back to You
I drove back to our campsite thinking how blessed I was and that in helping them, it made me feel good. In many ways, they blessed me by giving me the opportunity to help. I thought back to the time that I was the one driving the old car with the peeling paint and the sickening feeling when it refused to start.
Maybe that’s why we are sometimes in want or in a tough situation- so that we can remember how it feels and help someone else up along the way.
It’s when someone really needs help that kindness means the most to them.
What is a Bigger Word for Love?
Love is easy to say. What’s harder is actually following through and letting it show through your actions. That takes effort. Sometimes it involves finding time, sometimes it involves setting your pride aside and saying “I’m sorry.” It might also cost you a bit.
The word “charity” can be defined as “love in action.” I Corinthians chapter 13 says a lot about charity. (In the KJV it is “charity” though in other versions it is written as “love.”) Charity now usually refers to some organization that does good things, usually in the context of something they want you to give money to. However, in its original context, it’s love in action.
The 4th verse says: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.”
That’s a pretty tall order, but it’s hard to hate if you are long-suffering, show kindness, are not envious, and stay meek and humble.
Choose Love over Hate – My Challenge to You
Now I have a challenge for you to choose love over hate. The next time you see something that makes you mad, try to respond instead of reacting.
Take a step back and try to practice self-control and have patience. Most of all, reach out and do something kind for someone else. You will be amazed at how good you feel after you perform an act of kindness.
How can you choose love over hate and show love in action? Leave me a comment below!