Hate thy neighbor in action


This article was written long before I wrote: “Hate & Haters – Doncha Just Hate It!” Even though the content is similar, I have decided to leave since there are differences, and it clearly reflects my state of awareness of our culture at different times.

 Before The Internet & Social Media

I doubt there has been another time in our history when the word “hate” has been used more often. The unintended consequence is a dilution of meaning and impact. Hating your neighbor was in person and personal. People did not hate lightly. Another term used often is “hate speech”. Often people use hate speech when it is a viewpoint they disagree with and nothing more.

When words were primarily spoken or written in books, letters, or newspapers, most people thought about the words before writing or speaking. It was a time when civil discourse prevailed.

Hate Thy Neighbor by Using Social Media

Now, with the internet, social media, and all sorts of cable TV shows, someone will toss out a buzzword or blurt something out before thinking. An expression or word will catch on and suddenly go viral. Because many of these are sent from strangers or anonymously, there is no apparent consequence for the sender. Even close friends will send words they wouldn’t say in person.

When running across these, I look at my understanding of the words. Lately, I have heard the word “hate” used excessively. By definition, “hate” means “loathing and aversion toward something or someone with great intensity.” I searched my memory to see if I could find where I had felt hate for any neighbor.

Certainly “aversion,” but “loathing”? No. Look as I might, I couldn’t find any instance where I felt hate toward any person or thing. I must say, I would “hate” to see an instance where I had felt hate itself, especially toward an individual.

Hate Long Term vs Heat of The Moment?

Many people feel hate in some emotional moments. In reality, I may have, in some forgotten moment. Not only that, but I am not sure those moments qualify as hating. I believe those are flashes of anger, not hate.

However, once planted in a person’s mind, the seed of hate can seek out evidence and incidents to reinforce the emotion festering in their mind. Most of us have seen this type of hate in another at some point in our lives. Surely not ourselves, though?

Using Hate for a Political Agenda

The use of hateful incitement has become quite common as a political or social tool to further the agenda of individuals or groups.

Hate itself can be quite a powerful tool. I have the means to destroy nations and civilizations. It can destroy the very soul of the person doing the hating. Thus, it is not surprising that in our current divisive era, this word is being used so commonly as a tool, whether regarding the transgender bathroom issue, one’s political affiliation, the election results, or some other hot topic.

Fomenting hate in others can advance any agenda. It is bad enough that some people may hate another, but should anyone use it to get their own way or just to watch the drama unfold?

Can Love and Hate Coexist?

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” is a concept many of us grew up with. (By the way, this phrase is ascribed to Jesus.) Can you love yourself and hate your neighbor at the same time? Can these two powerful emotions co-exist? I think not. If you hate others, you don’t truly love yourself.

The first step to stopping hate is getting to know an individual in the group or community one opposes. Find the humanity in them. Have a conversation and get to know their story. If you do this, I guarantee you that your attitude and understanding of them and yourself will dramatically change.

The result will surprise you.

Jerry Society & Culture

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