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Opinionated Man over at Harsh Reality has me pondering the nature of hatred today in his post “Knowing Hate.”

Oddly I agree with him in a way, I think there’s some real value in what he suggests when he says, “The truth is that hate has many purposes.” Hatred and I are well acquainted and yes, it served a vital purpose. I haven’t got the energy for hatred today and it no longer has anything to teach me, so it went away, it was no longer useful, but yes, hatred has a purpose.

Pragmatism by the way is, “an approach that assesses the truth of meaning of theories or beliefs in terms of the success of their practical application.” I can be so blasted pragmatic I actually annoy my own self.

Here is what I have come to learn about hatred, it is NOT the opposite of love. The opposite of love is actually indifference. No feelings, no passion, no emotional investment. That’s indifference. Hatred is actually just the flip side of love, intense, passionate feelings, usually around themes of injustice. You have to be vulnerable to hate, you have to be willing to grieve a loss, a broken connection, like Harsh Reality often does so poignantly.

Hatred is a weight one carries around, like a box of rocks, or perhaps like one’s cross to bear. It is actually evidence of one’s love, a broken and severed love perhaps, but one’s willingness to care and to grieve what was stolen and lost.

What most of us long for the most is reconciliation, redemption, connection on a spiritual level. That’s some strong medicine that doesn’t always go down so well, but it is true, when someone does us wrong, at the heart of our thirst for justice is a desire for them to admit their failure to see and know us as a full human being, to recognize our full worth and value, and to respect us.

As a kid I actually went about this all backwards. I became so indifferent, I actually had to learn how to hate before I could even learn how to love. Indifference is not forgiveness, it is not healing, it is numbness.  Once those feelings of hatred finally hit me, well, being able to actually feel love is right around the corner.  Not necessarily love for those who hurt you, but just the ability to feel love in general.

Forgiveness, mercy, grace, well those things just create a beautiful lightness of being that severs you from the ties that bind you to those who have done you harm. In my case there was simply too much weight there for me to bear myself and so I had to eventually set it all down.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.