One Easy Way To Put An End To Hate

Last Sunday morning, Milwaukee, Wisconsin experienced a repeat performance of the tragic Aurora shooting from three weeks ago. The gunman, Wade Page, shot six people and wounded four others in a Sikh temple before eventually taking his life.

Since then, news outlets have been reporting that Page had ties to white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups. He also reportedly played in two white power bands.

Seems like the hate quotient in our country has increased exponentially over the last year or two.

So how do we put an end to it?

First of all, I think we need to stop talking about it.

Is it just me, or does it seem that our culture is throwing the word “hate” around like an errant Tim Tebow pass? Seems like our society is fixated on hate. Consider the recent additions to the English lexicon:

  • Hate rock
  • Hate crime
  • Hate groups
  • Hate monger
  • Hate speech

You’ve heard of FaceBook, but you may be surprised to know that there’s a HateBook where people can list their many hates.

Back in the day, the word “hate” was reserved for incorrigibles like Adolf Hitler or more recently Fred Phelps. Wade Page or James Holmes (the Aurora shooter) would surely fit into that category. But today, the word dominates the rhetoric in national news.

Once You Start You Can’t Stop

A few months ago I stopped at a nearby hardware store to pick up some household repair items. I asked a clerk for advice on a certain purchase, and this is what he said,

Actually, I think you’d be better off going with the ¾ bolt, actually. Then, actually, you’ll need to buy this nut. Actually, actually, you’ll find that it holds things together much better. Actually.

During our 2 minute conversation, he employed the word “actually” 14 times (I counted!). When I returned home, I shared my experience with my wife.

“So,” she asked after I finished telling my story, “when do you plan on beginning your project?”

“Actually, I thought I’d start tomorrow morning because, actually, I was planning on answering some emails tonight. Actually.”

I gulped because I knew I had been infected.

The next couple of days, the dreaded word kept appearing in my vocabulary. At times I knew it was coming but I still couldn’t stop it. The guy at the hardware store had given me the virus.

Throwing the word “hate” around works the same way. The more we talk about it, the more it appears in our vocabulary. And the more it appears in our vocabulary, the more common it becomes. Nowadays, a disagreement or debate can be considered
“hate speech.” Ironically, accusing people of hate can be in itself an act of hate.

While Wade Page performed with his white power heavy metal group, the lyrics in his songs assuredly expressed the hate that he already felt. But they also energized his burning hatred inside.

I realize this isn’t the magic pill—but we need to change the way we talk.

Our words are performative. If I stand in front of a mirror every day telling myself, “Mike, I hate you,” I’ll begin to believe it.

But if we change the way we talk to each other, we just might turn back the tide on hate.

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt. Colossians 4:6 (NIV)

 Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado with Eugene Scott. He’s doing his best to recover from his “Actually” virus.

One note: The Daily Bible Conversation blog is shuttering its doors at the end of August…at least for now. The blog has run its course, so Michael, Eugene, and Brendan will direct their energies in other areas. Beginning September 7, Michael will begin a new blog entitled “God Meets Culture” at michaeljklassen.com.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “One Easy Way To Put An End To Hate

  1. Georgie-ann

    “Talk is cheap.” Little did I know (until I just now Googled it!) that this “idiom” — (common phrase in our English language) — has also been showcased more than once in our popular music scene. Well, little wonder, I’d say,… and “cheap talk” is now so ubiquitous that it pretty much has become a new “normal” for almost all of us,… anything more weighty, or of greater/deeper value, truth and relevance, is easily dismissed or brushed aside as not being worth the bother to contemplate or consider,… platitudes and stereotypes and catch-phrases will do just fine — (because “you know what I mean” & surely “we’re all on the same page” & of course “it’s all good”) — and like, “thank you very much”,… … … (& “the more’s the pity”),…

    so, where is this massive proliferation of surface-y communal mumbo-jumbo and jive leading us?,… what does it portend?,… a small amount of some fun/colorful language thingys can be like using a little friendly bit of spice, but overdone it can lead to complete communication disasters,… a soft-shoe slippery slope dancing us into an adolescent acquiescence to total mental nonentity-ville,…

    So,… another Great Reason to be thankful to God for going through ALL He has gone through to give us His most precious Word,… another way He has enabled us to help lift ourselves out of the “tempting” miry pit of ultimately meaningless human quicksand,…

    His Word tells us about the dangers held in the tongue:

    Psalm 10:7 “His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is trouble and iniquity.”

    Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, … .”

    Micah 6:12 “For her rich men are full of violence, Her inhabitants have spoken lies, And their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.”

    Proverbs 21:23 “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles.”

    Job 27:4 “My lips will not speak wickedness, Nor my tongue utter deceit.”

    Psalm 35:28 “And my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness And of Your praise all the day long.”

    James 3:5-10 (edited)
    5 “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. … 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. … 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”

    (I’m planning to return, to continue,…)

  2. Georgie-ann

    So,… definitely,… not giving voice to common negative things is a helpful way to minimize their influence,…

    1 Peter 3:10 “For ‘He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit.'”

    Job 29:9 “The princes refrained from talking, And put their hand on their mouth;”

    “Silence is golden” is a long-standing old proverb, and “self-control” is one of the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5),… these things work together to improve our mental, emotional and spiritual environment (and condition),… perhaps helping us to also get a better look at what is really going on,…

    Where does hatred live?,… answer: within the one hating,… a person who is habitually hating is a host for the devilish spirit of hatred,… this power of hatred very likely makes them feel strong and (self)-righteous, and “better than”,… it helps them to “define themselves”,… and they may believe that they are “ONLY hating others”, whom they perceive to be as enemies, de-personalized, threatening or expendable, and “in their way”,… but there is always a root of self-hatred and self-loathing involved as well,… strong hatred becomes a magnet that simply attracts more hatred to itself — ultimately capable of producing a flaming feeding-frenzy (usually on many fronts) and gross failure,… it is inevitably involved in “a losing battle”,… doomed,… hatred is the cursed antithesis of love,… a dangerous snake you shouldn’t wish to entertain,…

    Hatred is one of the powerful blinding and enslaving forces that Christ came to deliver us from,… we were not created to be servants (and victims) of hatred,…

    John 8:36 “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

    We can even be free to “love the sinner, while hating the sin”,…

    There is a righteous hatred that does not consume us, but even so, we should not wish to dwell there long,… allowing it to be resolved (and dissipated) in prayer:

    Psalm 139:17-24
    17 “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
    How great is the sum of them!
    18 “If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
    When I awake, I am still with You.

    19 “Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!
    Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
    20 “For they speak against You wickedly;
    Your enemies take Your name in vain.
    21 “Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You?
    And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
    22 “I hate them with perfect hatred;
    I count them my enemies.

    23 “Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    Try me, and know my anxieties;
    24 “And see if there is any wicked way in me,
    And lead me in the way everlasting.”

    and,…

    Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

    Amen.

  3. Georgie-ann

    I just came across this story and reference to “hatred.”

    Elie Wiesel was being held in a concentration camp by the Nazis as a youth,… he began to be consumed with hatred, imagining what he would do to them, as revenge, if he ever could,… an elderly rabbi reflected back to him that he was, in fact, becoming “them”,…

    “Wiesel describes this as a major turning point in his life regarding his understanding of hate. Hatred, itself, can transform one into that which is hated. It is a realization vital to remember whenever someone who has been under a Controller’s “spell” decides to break that spell. Once counter-control springs into action, it must be tempered with restraint, because a desire for revenge can turn you into the very thing you most scorn.” ~~Roger Melton

    Hebrews 10:29-31
    29 “Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

    Some things are just “too much” for us to try to handle on our own and in our own human ways,…

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