“I hate you!” Have you ever had someone say that to you? How did it make you feel? I’m sure it stirred up negative feelings: “how dare you, you . . . . “. I’m sure every single one of us would react in the same way. Our immediate, spontaneous, automatic reaction would be hit back at this person.
We wouldn’t even think we were doing anything wrong. Thoughts of revenge, getting our own back, would fill our mind. Our mind would shout to us: “He deserves to be told off. He’s being horrible, and needs to be challenged.”
Most of us are brought up in a culture of self-defence. That’s why we spend trillions on weapons of self-defence as a nation. As kids, we taught to “stand up to the bullies.” We’re taught to be strong and decisive when facing unjustified negativity from anyone else. Many States justify carrying weapons of self-defence.
We are told that hatred is evil, and we must stand up to it wherever and whenever we encounter it. But there just maybe a better way: return love for hatred!
Many religions teach this. In our quote this week, we have Buddha’s take on the issue. A Christian need think no further than the words of Jesus, spoken as He hung on the cross, dying in excruciating agony.
He said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Perhaps most of us are at a low level of human growth and development: still novices in the great game of life, death and eternity. Every single religion on the planet, every decent atheist, agree that Love is the greatest of human values.
There is no greater height to which love can soar, than to love and forgive enemies. Perhaps only a tiny percentage have achieved these heights of love. Such a person genuinely loves the enemy, the person who hates them.
They want to help them move onwards and upwards from hatred. They know that only by returning love for hatred can they begin to chip away at their armour of hatred and rejection.
Human history is filled with people of such great love. Most of us struggle along the lowlands of life, unable to reach the dizzy heights of the rugged mountain path of awesome love.
Maybe we can begin this love journey anew. Try every possible strategy we know, to move on: from revenge and hatred, to love and forgiveness.
Where are you on this love journey? Where do you want to be? What’s your take on this issue?
Do you agree with the Buddha that love is “the eternal rule”?
P.S. How has life challenged you in love/hate? If you like, please let us know by leaving a comment.