Do You Hate People?

I don’t remember who told me this story – I think it was a friend of mine; I don’t remember who – but it impacted me deeply. They were talking with their grandma one day, venting. and told her how much they hated [that guy].

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Their grandma, who had been listening attentively, suddenly looked concerned. “I didn’t know you hated people,” she said.

I didn’t know you hated people. Not, “I didn’t know he was so annoying,” or “Tell me about it.” Not even, “Well, why do you hate him?” No. I didn’t know you hated people. She said it like it was a bad habit or an activity, like, “I didn’t know you smoked,” or “I didn’t know you did hatha yoga on Tuesdays.”

And it wasn’t a long, thought-out, calculated response, either. This woman had no reaction time to decide the best way to change her grandchild’s life. This was her first reaction. She had lived her life assuming that hatred was an activity – an attitude, not an emotion. Annoyance? Sure, that might be understandable. Hence the venting. But hatred? This old woman believed that hatred was a thing you did, not a thing people did to you. I didn’t know you hated people.

I’ve been thinking about forgiveness today, and frankly, I need to stop hating people. I need to realize that what somebody posts on Facebook – even if it’s completely out of line – isn’t the way they feel every minute of the day. I need to remember that when I do something stupid, I don’t need to hate myself; I need to change my habits and start over again. I need to let my husband air his thoughts and stop jumping on him for forming the wrong combination of words. I need to realize that political differences don’t give me the right to assume someone is a terrible person. And even if they are a terrible person, I don’t need to carry them around with me all day, hating them. They need to change their life, and I need to find someone else I enjoy spending time with.

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 I’m not resolving to like everybody. (There are some people who make that particularly difficult.) But we’re all human beings. Not a single one of us is perfect, but most of us tied our shoes this morning, and that’s more than any other species on this planet. We’re children of God, for crying out loud! And I’m done feeling bitter towards people because they’re flawed in different ways than me. I’m done with hating people. ♥

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