Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Proverbs 10:12 -- On Hatred and Love

"Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins."
Proverbs 10:12

This is a good reminder that hatred is never, ever the answer.  Love is the better choice.  God asks us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31; Matthew 22:39).  The story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37) gives us the answer to who our neighbors are, if we hadn't guessed.  Our neighbors are everyone, and specifically, those we see that are in need.  God makes it very clear that we shouldn't do bad to anyone: "let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour" (Zechariah 8:17). Christ goes even further and specifically tells us to love our enemies and to do good to them that hate us (Luke 6:27, 35; Matthew 5:44; 3 Nephi 12:44).  We're even given clues about how to love when God tells us that we should "Give to every man that asketh of thee" (Luke 6:30, see also Matthew 5:42; 3 Nephi 12:42).
Sometimes we justify hatred because of our fear, which is understandable, to react negatively to something that we are afraid of.  But God asks us to rise above our fear, and to love our brothers and sisters.  Indeed, he says "perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment" (1 John 4:18).  There are so many things in the world today to be afraid of.  But if we allow ourselves to be paralyzed by fear, and to make all of our choices based on fear, then we're letting fear control us... and letting it win.  It isn't easy to trust God and get beyond fear... not saying it is, or even that it should be.  It takes time and patience and effort to learn to love the way that God wants us to love.  But he will help us avoid strife, and even forgive us of our sins (which is what it means by cover) as we learn to show love.
Today, let's make the effort.  Let's work on casting aside our fears, trusting God, and learning to love. Let's not be satisfied with loving just the people close around us that are easy to love, but let's recognize that many of our neighbors are the people outside our circles of comfort.  The people who seem strange, or different, or even who scare us.  Let's be like the Good Samaritan and show mercy to our neighbors.  Let's do as Christ asks and show generosity and compassion to the people around us.  Let's learn to love and never teach hatred.

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