How to Turn Hate to Love

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Hate is a powerful emotion.  It can come from a range of things from other people’s actions to anger over a situation.  However, hate can also be a controlling thing, and when we allow it to take over, the negativity can build and fester inside of us.  As Christians, we need to understand what hate can do, and we need to learn how to turn hate into love.  

What is Hate?
Hate is a difficult concept today, because we tend to overuse the word.  Do you really hate peas, or is it just that you dislike the taste of them?  Hate is a very strong thing, so we need to realize the difference between true hate and just not liking something very much.  Hate is an emotion or an idea that goes far deeper than just dislike.  Try putting the word "hate" in reserve and using "dislike" in it’s place.  Soon you’ll start to see the difference between things that really affect you and things that just don’t matter that much.

Isn’t There Righteous Hatred?
Many people get caught up in this difference.  Sure, we’re taught to hate sin.   Sin is bad, and we don’t want it in our lives.  It complicates things.  There is the common saying, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”  Yet even in this sentence, we get back to love.  There are things God very much doesn’t want for us.  He desires us not to sin, but He loves us anyhow.  This is why turning hate into love is an important lesson.  Sure, we can hate the things God hates, but we cannot let that hate take root in us to a point where we are blinded to the things we should love about one another.

Taking Back the Power
When we give ourselves over to the hate in our hearts, we lose our power to control it.  When we give hate the power, it means it is impossible to change how we feel about a person or that situation.  Forgiveness becomes difficult because we no longer have the ability to offer it.  We now have given hate the power over love, and it has this tendency to block out the light that love and forgiveness offer.  

Try to Understand
Part of overcoming hate is figuring out where the hate is coming from.  What is it that the person you hate has done?  What is it about this situation that causes such a strong emotion to swell within you?  Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.  Is that person hurt and angry?  Is that person sick in the mind?  Is the situation just out of your control?  Learning to turn hate into love is about looking clearly at a situation.

Learn Acceptance
Acceptance is a difficult concept for people to understand.  Forgiveness and love come from a place of acceptance.  Yet we tend to think that acceptance means that we are putting our seal of approval on bad behavior or a bad situation.  What it really means in this situation is that we accept that we only have so much control over a situation.  It means that we have dealt with a situation or a person to the best of our ability, but that there is nothing else we can do to change it.  We have to accept that it is time to let go of trying to control the things we cannot change.  Once we see things through a fresh set of eyes, we can open up our hearts to forgiveness and love.  

Make a Choice to Love
Overcoming hate is a choice.  It takes effort to overcome the fear and anger that feed hate.  No one says it is easy.  We need to pray to overcome hate.  We need to immerse ourselves in what the bible says about hate.  We need to talk to others about how they pushed hate out of their heart.  Once you make the choice and become determined to overcome the hate, it becomes easier for love and forgiveness to enter your heart.