Sometimes – especially in the aftermath of violence or other atrocities – the pull of hatred can feel irresistible. But with God’s help we can rid ourselves of hateful thoughts, overcome a tendency to return hate for hate, and witness the healing power of divine Love.
Many emotions linger in connection with the horrific attacks on American soil on Sept. 11, 2001. Among them is the temptation to hate.
Christ Jesus gave important counsel on conquering hate. He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 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” (Matthew 5:43, 44, New King James Version).
Jesus followed his own advice. He conquered hate by relying on and reflecting the all-power of God, divine Love. He did this to show us how to conquer hate within ourselves, and thus stop hate from escalating into round after round of conflict. As Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, wrote in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “Love must triumph over hate” (p. 43).
Conquering hate within ourselves is key to playing our part in eliminating conflict between individuals or nations. Here’s the problem: Hate expressed by others may seem obvious to us, while it’s not always so easy to acknowledge hate within our own consciousness – and to conquer it there. Human will can’t do it. We need to rely on God. And that starts with knowing God as infinite Love, which includes not one single element of hate.
Through his life, teachings, and healings, Jesus revealed God’s true nature and benevolent power: that God is Love, and creates and maintains every individual as Love’s own spiritual, perfect reflection. Whatever does not express this perfect Love is no part of anyone’s real identity.
With this understanding, we can see that fundamentally the “enemy” to our well-being is never actually the person or persons who have expressed hate. It is the belief that something besides God, good, has substance or validity. This belief has no legitimate power over anyone because God never created it.
The aim for each of us, then, should be for our own thought to be so free of hatred that we become a transparency for the light of divine Love to be seen and felt wherever it is needed.
When it comes to overcoming hate and proving it powerless, it’s important to realize that its forms can range from mild dislike to intentional detestation, all of which are counter to the reality of divine Love, and Love’s reflection. With God’s help we can rid ourselves of hateful thoughts and of reacting to hate expressed by others. When we humble ourselves and become still mentally in order to acknowledge and yield to divine Love’s power to govern everyone, Love’s power prevails.
To help us willingly engage in the internal struggle to overcome hate with love – to let our thoughts, words, and actions reflect divine Love – Mrs. Eddy offered this very comforting advice: “Be of good cheer; the warfare with one’s self is grand; it gives one plenty of employment, and the divine Principle worketh with you, – and obedience crowns persistent effort with everlasting victory” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 118). And humanity is blessed.