Choosing Love Over Hate
by Joanne Troppello
Loving others is one of the greatest gifts we can give. In I Cor. 13:13, we learn that “Now abide faith, hope, love, these; but the greatest of these is love.”
So, I’m not going to preach at you. Don’t stop reading.
I simply wanted to share how my heart aches for the state of the world today.
We’re all on sides. In America, one side loves the President, the other side despises him. I’m sure there are people in the middle, but it seems as if the divide is widening each day.
The liberal media has become the propaganda arm of the Democratic party. They’re not reporting the facts anymore. They just feed people their liberal agenda. This is causing more and more division in our country.
Do you remember the last time you smiled and waved to your neighbor or held the door open for someone when you were out shopping? I’m asking myself the same question. There is so much division in our country today, but I still believe we can do our part to make a difference.
Choosing Love Over Hate
1. You Have Influence in This World
Whether you believe it or not, you have influence in this world. Maybe you’re a parent, grandparent, or aunt or uncle. You have influence over the lives of the children in your family. You can be a positive influence with your friends, coworkers, or fellow church members.
Every action can have a powerful effect that you may never even realize. Be a positive, not negative influence. This is why I registered the hashtag #CCOTOnFire on Twubs so people can share prayer requests, praise reports, and uplifting news with others who can pray with them and want to hear good news.
2. Start Each Day with a New Perspective
You have the opportunity each day to start over. I’m a Christian and I thank God for His grace and mercy that is new each morning. I want to be a force for good in this world.
Sure, I fail at times. I argue with my husband or may say things to hurt a close family member or friend. Maybe I’m having a bad day and react harshly to someone at the store or who I interact with online.
However, being willing to say sorry and apologize for my actions can go a long way toward healing those relationships—or showing that clerk in the store or person online—that I’m only human and make mistakes. Yet, we can always choose to move forward in love and not hate.
3. Understand that You Can’t Please Everyone
You’re never going to please everyone and there will always be people who continue to return hatred when you try to love them. Should you stop loving them?
As a Christian, the response should be no. As a human being, I can’t continue to love on my own—especially in those circumstances.
However, with God’s power, I can share His love with those around me.
In Matthew 5:44, Jesus tells us, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
Yes, that does sound difficult, but it is easier when we allow God to work through us. I can’t love my enemies in my own power. Naturally, I want to return hate with hate. Though, as a new creation in Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, I can love those who are not so loveable.
4. Choose Love When Interacting Online
It’s easy to become a “keyboard warrior” and return reviling for reviling when you interact with people online. You think, hey, I’m never going to see this person in real life, what’s the point of being nice?
The point is that God is watching us and He expects us to “imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ,” as Paul wrote in I Corinthians 11:1.
When we accept Jesus as our savior, that gift of salvation is freely given. That gets us to Heaven, not our works or behavior here on Earth.
However, God expects us to be a living witness of His love to others so that we can bring people to Christ through His power at work in us.
Believe me, I have had my patience tried on Twitter.
People can be cruel. Just remember, that most of the time, those who are cruelest to you do not yet know the love of the Savior. Maybe your response will be the only thing that could bring them one step closer to meeting Jesus. Definitely something to think about.
I started interacting on social media as a way to promote my books and magazine. It’s definitely a balancing act maintaining my Christian witness online. If someone is mean and replies negatively to me, I usually refrain from responding. Sometimes I do respond, but always with grace.
First, I don’t want to taint my Christian witness and second, I don’t want to give anyone a reason to report me to Twitter so my account can get temporarily or permanently suspended. Then I usually block the person if things continue to escalate on their part so they cannot see my tweets or contact me anymore.
I totally understand that there are many unreasonable people online. You may not succeed in reaching them with the Gospel message or sharing your conservative values. However, that doesn’t mean that you should return hate for hate.
Be a Light in This World
Matthew 5:16 tells us to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.”
Now, they may not glorify God in that moment. The hatred could intensify. However, we never know how sharing God’s love toward them can bring them that much closer to seeking God for themselves. We rise by lifting others up, not tearing them down.
Be the type of person that takes personal responsibility for your actions as you strive to grow into an emotionally intelligent person who knows how to respond and not react.
You’ll cultivate more friends than enemies that way and may start to see that being grateful is so much more fulfilling than complaining. Seek to find the good in life. Look for solutions, not all the reasons why you cannot love others.
Be a light in the world. We need more people to choose love over hate and kindness over disrespect. There will always be people with hard hearts and those who choose a darker path, but every choice for good you make can bring more light to our hurting world.
It takes a big-minded person to be open to new ideas. A small-minded person is too focused on the impossibilities. Stay open to always learning something new each day—even if that’s trying to see things from someone else’s perspective.
Try to understand new ideas, even if you can’t agree with them. That’s how we bridge the gap back to civility.
If we stop talking “at” and “about” people, but start talking “to” them, we can improve our chances of finding our way back to civility.
Remember that a little kindness can go a long way.
You may not feel like it, but you are valuable. Maybe you don’t feel loved. Know this—God loves you. He sent His Son to die on a cross for you. Even if you were the only person on earth, Jesus still would have died for you. Trust me, you are dearly loved.
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is a published author of 3 inspirational fiction novels and the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Mustard Seed Sentinel. She has experience as a freelance writer in topics such as marketing, retail marketing, health and wellness, SEO and social media, travel and lifestyle, website content, recommendations for apps, and content for blogs. Visit her Amazon Author Page for more information regarding her books. Connect on Twitter. Read more about Mustard Seed Sentinel here.