Hope for Victims of Hate!
HATRED will end worldwide. But before we can see how that is possible, we need to know (1) what causes hatred, and (2) what needs to be done to eliminate it.
Of course, the word “hate” is often used freely. A small child screws up his face and exclaims, “I hate cod-liver oil!” You may not blame him. But obviously we are not talking about that kind of hatred.
The hatred causing present-day strife and heartache is an intense, often malicious, hostility. It can be sustained enmity toward certain people. This kind of hatred is like a consuming fire. When uncontrolled it can be deadly, as we know all too well.
What Causes It?
For one thing, the way history is sometimes taught to the young can color their whole view of nations and peoples. Admittedly, home influences play their part. Children can hardly ignore jaundiced remarks about another race or people. Why, look at how some of the Irish view the English, and vice versa!
Propagandists play their part too. Whether you are young or old, your thinking can be affected by what you hear. For instance, by listening to political propaganda you can come to hate people because they are wrongly stereotyped by some clever mind manipulator. How often this happens in wartime! Regarding this, J. A. C. Brown wrote in Techniques of Persuasion: “Quite often, as in war propaganda, he is merely trying to arouse strong emotions of hatred . . . against another group.” The effects of such propaganda? Brown says that it “not only leads to exaggerated hatred of the enemy but alleviates our own sense of guilt when we too behave brutally.”
You may think of some other causes of hatred. But, like other reasonable people, you are far more interested in what can be done to end this cause of so much suffering. So, what about that?
What Can Be Done About It?
Naturally you alone cannot change the world. But you might think that religion would be a fine influence against hatred of different kinds. Well, think about that for a moment. Has not religious bigotry often promoted hatred? At least the world’s religions have not been a great success in overcoming this blight on human society. Just think of the warring factions of differing religious persuasions in Lebanon and Northern Ireland. Interestingly, the 18th-century writer Jonathan Swift remarked: “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.”
Now, this is not to say that religion should teach us not to hate anything at all. The Bible says: “For everything there is an appointed time, . . . a time to love and a time to hate.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8) But this is godly hatred. This properly controlled emotion can be a protection. Obviously God hates evil things, and his servants rightly hate them too. As the psalmist put it: “O you lovers of Jehovah, hate what is bad.”—Psalm 97:10.
But malicious hatred—that is something else. How can it be avoided or eliminated? Here are some points to ponder:
Consider the source. Basically, blind hatred is the product of our imperfections. The Christian apostle Paul wrote: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, and they are fornication, uncleanness, loose conduct, idolatry, practice of spiritism, enmities [hatred, Authorized Version], strife, jealousy, fits of anger, contentions, divisions, sects, envies, drunken bouts, revelries, and things like these. As to these things I am forewarning you, the same way as I did forewarn you, that those who practice such things will not inherit God’s kingdom.” (Galatians 5:19-21) Yes, enmities, or hatred, as well as strife and contentions, are “works of the flesh” that would bar a person from God’s Kingdom.
So any who yearn for heaven’s blessing must banish improper hatred from their heart. But how is this possible?
Guard your mind. You must guard what you feed your mind if you are to protect yourself from this destructive emotion or make it disappear from your life. Naturally this is difficult when you have a legitimate grievance or when some terrible injustice has been done or when your rights have been trampled upon. But, remember, you only make matters worse if you brood over such things and allow cancerous hatred to gnaw away inside you. Of course, guarding what you feed your mind is more easily said than done. But you can take some positive steps. For one thing, you can stop listening to the biased talk of those who foment hatred. Yet, what else can you do?
Think positively. This involves replacing bitter feelings with upbuilding, constructive ones. The apostle Paul put it this way: “Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are of serious concern, whatever things are righteous, whatever things are chaste, whatever things are lovable, whatever things are well spoken of, whatever virtue there is and whatever praiseworthy thing there is, continue considering these things.” (Philippians 4:8) Good advice! But more than positive thinking is needed. It is also a matter of placing trust where it will really do some good.
Trust in God’s goodness. Yes, have confidence in God’s ability and willingness to remedy matters. Then your emotions will not drive you into ill-conceived actions. Rather, you will be able to keep thinking clearly, rationally, reasonably. To that end, true Christians find prayer very helpful. As the apostle Paul said: “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:6, 7.
Hatred Already Disappearing
Admittedly such thinking and reliance on God do not develop overnight. But you can succeed. Hundreds of thousands have been able to follow Jesus Christ’s wise counsel: “You heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ However, I say to you: Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those persecuting you.”—Matthew 5:43, 44.
In the first century, people from all around the then-known world became followers of Jesus Christ. And these individuals became known for such surpassing love. When hate-filled men stoned Jesus’ disciple Stephen to death, Stephen’s final words were: “Jehovah, do not charge this sin against them.” Stephen was ready to forgive them. He wanted the best for those that hated him.—Acts 7:54-60.
Jehovah’s modern-day servants have also responded to the advice to love—not just one another, their Christian brothers and sisters, but even those who hate them. They are working hard to eliminate malicious hatred from their lives. Recognizing the powerful forces that can engender hatred within them, they take positive action and replace hatred with love. Yes, “hatred is what stirs up contentions, but love covers over even all transgressions.”—Proverbs 10:12.
The apostle John states: “Everyone who hates his brother is a manslayer, and you know that no manslayer has everlasting life remaining in him.” (1 John 3:15) Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that. As a result, they are now being integrated—from all ethnic, cultural and former religious and political backgrounds—into one united hate-free association of people, a genuine earth-wide brotherhood.
Hatred About to End!
‘But,’ you may say, ‘that’s all very well for the individuals concerned. However, this will not make hatred disappear from the earth altogether.’ True, even if you do not have hatred in your heart, you can still be its victim. So you have to look to God for the real solution to this problem.
Take heart, however, for all vestiges of misdirected, ungodly hatred will soon be removed from the earth. This will shortly take place under the rule of the heavenly government for which Jesus taught us to pray to God: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matthew 6:9, 10) When that prayer is fully answered, conditions that foster hatred will exist no more. Situations that exploit it will have been eliminated. Ignorance, lies and prejudice will have been replaced by enlightenment, truth and righteousness. Then, indeed, God ‘will have wiped out every tear, death will be no more, and neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.’—Revelation 21:1-4.
Now, the best news! The very generation that has seen hatred erupt into devastating world wars and has witnessed other evidence that we are living in “the last days” will see ungodly hatred vanish from this earth. (2 Timothy 3:1-5; Matthew 24:3-14, 34) In God’s promised New Order a genuine spirit of brotherhood will exist, for humankind will have been restored to perfection. Moreover, you can be here when our earthly home becomes a paradise and all its residents truly reflect God’s fine moral qualities. (Luke 23:43; 2 Peter 3:13) Yes, you can live when love prevails earth wide and ungodly hatred is a thing of the past.
But you do not have to wait until then to enjoy genuine brotherhood. In fact, as shown by the following account, Christian love already has found a place in hearts once filled with hatred.
[Blurb on page 5]
You can come to hate people because they are wrongly stereotyped by some clever mind manipulator
[Blurb on page 5]
“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another”—Jonathan Swift
[Blurb on page 6]
“Everyone who hates his brother is a manslayer”
[Picture on page 7]
Soon love and unity will fill the earth