Over the last year or so I have noticed that people have becomes very conversant with hate. Hate has become a word we apply to the comments of those we disagree with. We have even given it the title, “Hate speech”. No doubt people do say hateful things from a hateful heart but “hate” is a word and an emotion we need to be very careful of. As a word it needs to be used sparingly and as an emotion it needs to be overcome.
Hate can be an outburst word that requires apology. I remember my parents disciplining me when I was a child and going to my room declaring, “I hate you”. It was designed to hurt another and it was a reaction to not getting what I wanted. Hate’s not just a word but an emotion developed by envy and jealousies that give way to slander and brutalities.
More recently, “Hate” has become the weapon word to crush another’s opinion or even long-held Christian views. It’s the convenience word for the poor debater to stop a discussion, used like a cowards punch on the undeserving. “Hate speech” as an accusation allows a person no alternative opinion. In some respects, the labelling of something as “hate speech” is the tantrum expression of the immature, a manipulative expression used by those who will carry on until they get their own way.
Hate is a useful word but a dangerous word when abused for personal gain. In such a context, the one using the expression “hate speech” is indulging in a hate speech that would not allow a loving space in which a person may express a contrary opinion.
By contrast, few people would argue that LOVE is a much better word when properly understood and expressed.
Faith is pretty crucial to life as it expresses trust. But where would trust be without love. Hope of course is an essential to mental health but where would hope be if there is no loving promise that you can trust in. Faith and Hope depend on love and even the Bible makes clear that love is the greatest. But there is a big “BUT”. Love is a lot of things but there are a lot of things love is not – “Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not easily provoked,and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth.It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
From these Bible words it is clear that love should never be confused with permission. Love can certainly give permission but it is not always loving to give permission to things that may harm. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness, so a policeman exercises love, not hate, when he removes permission for a drunk to drive. Love, of course, should never turn a blind eye to what might endanger a person and as such true love never fails to offer warnings of danger. You may disagree with the potential for danger, even hate being told that it is dangerous but that does not make the warning any less loving.
Along Botany Bay’s foreshore are warning signs about sharks. If you want to take your last swim in peace you can ignore the signs but I hope someone is loving enough to warn you that your last swim might end with less of you than you hoped for.
Personally, I am tiring of the “Hate Speech” accusers when a better understanding of love would profit us all. Maybe it’s time for us all to talk about things in a loving manner while allowing for differences of opinion, not forcing people to a particular opinion. So let’s fight against those who protest with accusations of hate speech, fighting with love borne out in speech and actions.