Love & Hate, Heaven & Hell

lovehate

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the “L” word lately, and it’s not because I’m in it. (Either forgive or be entertained by the ridiculous pun, thanks.) I’ve been thinking about it because I’m been finding myself more and more often on the opposite side of the spectrum.

Here’s a throwback to a classical scripture/childhood lesson/timeless passage that many have heard before:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily-angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Now, as everyone learns sooner or later, love can be an impossible task sometimes. In fact, we can actually find ourselves not wanting anything to do with love, because if I can’t do it, I’m not worthy of it, either!

And then I find myself here, in hate. What’s hate like?

Hate can’t stand anyone or anything, hate is cruel. It’s jealous, boastful, and proud. It’s rude and self-seeking, it is easily-angered, it remembers every wrong thing ever committed. Hate finds joy in other people’s suffering and rejoices in getting revenge. It always hurts, always betrays, always despairs, always quits. Hate has only let every single person down.

Reading these two descriptions next to each makes me cringe. Which one, right now at this very moment, is easier to put my name in, to make myself the subject. I put my name in the place of love – wishful thinking. I then put my name in the place of hate – it hits the nail on the head. And now I’m faced with a choice. 

Follow the way of love, and we can literally bring heaven to earth. Follow the way of hate, and it will take us the most miserable place on earth: our own personal hell.

But shouldn’t love feed off of love? If I don’t feel loved by the people around me, if I get hurt or someone breaks my heart or legitimately angers me, where is the love in that? How can I love back if love wasn’t given in the first place? How can I trust if no one trusts me? 

I’ve known a few people in my life who were the embodiment of love. Somehow, love really was strong enough to heal the hurt, to protect from the pain of the world, the pain of other people; it was the best alternative to jealousy. I think it’s because they’ve already arrived in heaven. In heaven, LOVE IS REALITY. When I’m walking around in my own personal hell, I don’t understand this; it makes me angry when I see it. Because love is not my reality; all I know is hate.

Love is like the color white. It’s always obvious which t-shirt is the whitest, which piece of paper REALLY IS white, if the wall is actually white or just cream (or egg shell, if you will). Love is obvious. No one can miss it. Love draws people in. Hate shuts them out. 

It really doesn’t take much to find ourselves hating; hell is sometimes only one negative thought away. And it really doesn’t take much to see which one is the better choice, either, no matter who you are. Love really is the only way.

I’m in grade school again, learning an extremely valuable life lesson: choose love.

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4 thoughts on “Love & Hate, Heaven & Hell

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  1. Ah, Victoria, you beautiful lady! How I miss your exuberant and vibrant personality. And I see your thoughts and so appreciate your observations and realizations.
    Your post makes me think of Luther’s “Sinner-Saint” title for us; we are indeed shadow and light. We walk with Jesus in a sinful world and it’s only by His grace and His power that we can forgive, trust and even begin to love. I am ever thankful for His Spirit Who lives within, but we do still get the daily/weekly/monthly/yearly struggles. No doubt about it.
    *sigh* So here I will confess to you that I have been hurt in unimaginable ways, in unexpected ways, in situations where there ought not even be any hurt to be found or given. My own reactions of quiet disappointment, grief, frustration, even anger in my heart, are not how I want to feel. My ‘go to’ attitude of avoidance kicks in. That works for a while, but eventually I get to let it settle, ask the Lord to show me how to forgive. It’s not easy. But love wins. Because Jesus endured far worse than me. Because Jesus lives in my heart and draws me where He wants me to be. He has appointed me to a variety of situations and has allowed each thing to happen….for my own growth, for other people’s growth….He rarely moves me out of the situation. He has my back and is my Protector. He comforts me and strengthens me to keep going because He has called me to it. And so I continue on, and eventually am blessed as I see a difference, not only in others, but in my own heart as I recognize He is at work.
    I trust Him more and more. Even when I know there will likely be hurt involved. It’s okay. It’s temporary and He’s with me.
    So when you see your own sinful nature arise, find your hope in the One who loves you more than you can even comprehend. And this isn’t just a “Sunday School answer”…..it is scriptural and accurate. Even if others decide to be icky. Forgive them in your heart and move on.
    I look forward to the day when I get to see your beautiful face again and give you a hug and hear all about your adventures. I am praying for you today!

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