This has been a very revealing season for me. It has been quite a shock for me to discover that I struggle with hatred, but even more so, I am really surprised to uncover the reasons why I hate some people. For most of my life, I have misunderstood hatred. I thought hatred was something you held for someone who made you angry. Or perhaps, you were jealous of that person. I assumed that my problem was anger and jealousy, but these sins are only by-products of my hatred. As it turns out, the root of my hatred is self-righteousness.
Over the past few weeks I have thought about the people that I hate and tried to come up with what they all have in common. Only two of them sinned against me, and in one case it was twelve years ago. I have completely canceled the debts in both cases and I am not angry with either of these people. Most of the others, however, never sinned against me. But in every single case, I look upon the person with disdain because, for whatever reason, I feel she cannot get her act together. (The group of individuals includes both men and women, however, for anonymity's sake I will only use the female pronoun).
In some cases, she appears to have experienced no spiritual growth, or very little spiritual growth, over the past few years. I feel she is intellectually inferior to me as well as spiritually immature. She doesn't do things the way I think they should be done. As I've already revealed in a prior post, I may think she's a complete phony. In other cases, she perpetually complains about the many blessings God has given her, or she complains about the things that God has not given her. Whenever I see her making her way towards me, I think "Oh God, no!" and I look for the nearest exit. In all cases, I am not jealous of her in the least. I think, "Thank God I'm not like her!" I think she is so pathetic that mustering up compassion for her is impossible for me to do. I think life would be so much sweeter if she'd just move to another hemisphere so the chances I'd ever have to come face to face with her again are extremely slim.
I don't hate these people because I'm angry at them. I'm angry at them because I hate them. Does this make sense? I don't hate these people because I'm angry at them. I'm angry at them because I hate them. Does this make sense? I have contempt in my heart for them, therefore, their very essence makes me angry. The very fact that they exist irritates me - unless they are allowed to exist ten thousand miles away where I don't have to deal with them.
Perhaps you are reading through this and thinking, "Oh, Jennifer, that's not hatred! You just dislike that person." If that's the case, then let me ask you to try something for me. Ask yourself if there is anyone you really dislike. Then go look up the definition of hatred in the dictionary. Now tell me if you can find any distinction between those two terms. I don't know about you, but I can't do it!
I'm guilty, and I'm wondering if I'm not alone. I think maybe there are others out there who have misunderstood hatred, as I did. Our society seems to lull us into a coma when it comes to this issue. I know I have been brainwashed to think, "I don't like the person, but it's not like I hate her!" But if you look in the Bible, not once is there ever an example of someone who "disliked someone a great deal." In the Bible, it is never referred to as "disliking someone a great deal," it is called hatred, period.
I am finding that upon understanding what hatred really is, that there are many, many reasons why I would be tempted to hate people. Sometimes I am angry at them. Sometimes I am jealous. But in most cases, it appears that the root of my hatred is self-righteousness. Come to think of it, it would seem that this is always where hatred starts. Can I be unjustly angry with someone without being self-righteous? How about irritated -- can I be irritated with someone without being self-righteous? Can I covet, or judge that God has unfairly given something to someone, without being self-righteous? I don't think so. I think this is where it all stems from.