In my 40 plus years on this earth, I have encountered all types of people. Having lived in 4 different states and one foreign country, I have heard many interesting and some sad stories. One of the main themes that has come up over and over is the one of hate and an unforgiving heart. Why do people choose to hate? Why do people choose to hold on to grudges? People choose to hate and to hold on to grudges because of past insults, wrongful accusations, family disagreements, and a multitude of other reasons. It appears as if it is easier to hate, but contrary to popular opinion, it is actually harder to hate than it is to choose to love and to forgive. For example, a person who chooses to hold on to an old grudge has to avoid family gatherings because of that one person that they hate. In addition, they have to change the subject every time that person is mentioned. Also, if it is a family member, they have to explain to their children why they cannot communicate with that particular family member. I read somewhere that staying angry with some one is like drinking poison and expecting it to kill the other person. Who are you hurting when you hate? You are hurting no one but your own self. When you avoid the family gatherings because of that one person, you miss out on seeing relatives who you have not seen in years. Due to hate and an unforgiving heart, you miss out on beautiful moments with family and friends. In addition, you also spend much time worrying about dying without making peace with your friends or loved ones. Why place your heart in a situation like that? Making peace is a better alternative. Loving people is much easier than hating them.
Furthermore, I recently did a little personal research on what negative thoughts can do. Having negative thoughts can cause you to have high blood pressure, can decrease your immune system’s ability to protect you, can cause cancer, can cause mental illness and can cause heart problems in addition to many other health risks. I do not know what your attitude is towards your health, but I want to be healthy. If hating other people is going to cause my health to decline, then I am going to choose to love them. God gave a simple commandment when He said, “Love your neighbor as you do yourself.”
What are the benefits of choosing to love rather than to hate? People who focus their minds on positive things live longer. They also have a higher likelihood of recovering from life threatening illnesses because they are not constantly worrying about dying with a bad heart (meaning still hating that one person who they have not forgiven). People who hate worry a lot. As a Chaplain, I counsel many of these types of people. They worry every day because they wonder about dying suddenly. They worry constantly about what would happen to them if they suddenly left this world without making peace. Yet, these same people, loath having to apologize to the person that they hate.
Lastly, choosing to love frees you from the mental day to day anguish of wondering if restoration will ever occur. Why wait to see if that person is going to make up with you? Why not be pro-active and make peace with that person? Choosing to love rather than to hate will cause you to have a renewed sense of peace and joy in your heart. I tell people that I do not have enough brain cells left to waste on hating anyone. Jesus said in Mathew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Also, Mathew 5:43,44 says, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” God expects His children to forgive others. Do you love God and do you love yourself enough to forgive? Remember that forgiveness has the most impact on the person doing the forgiving.
In conclusion, life is short and is meant to be enjoyed. Enjoy your family and your friends. You cannot do that if you choose to hate. God says in I John 4:7,8, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” Many people choose to hate; however, it is much better to love. Having negative thoughts can cause all types of illnesses including heart disease, ulcers, cancer and high blood pressure. Why would you want to ruin your health because of someone who hurt you a long time ago? Let it go. You cannot change what happened in your past, but you can impact what happens in your future. Make a conscious decision today to love. Hating others is bad for your health!
Other Scriptures that might help you:
Mathew 5: 21-24
I Corinthians 13
Some helpful websites:
http://preachersfiles.com/brotherly-love/ -sermon on brotherly love
http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/sermons-on-gods-love-221.asp -listing of different sermons on love by various Pastors
http://tesh.com/ittrium/visit/A1x97x1y1xa5x1x76y1x2455x1x9by1x245ax1y5x1f9ebx5x1 -John Tesh- … Negative thoughts bad for your health
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/490175/how_negative_thoughts_affect_your_life.html?cat=72 Dimpel Patel- Negative thoughts bad for your health
http://www.energyfirst.com/site/newsletter/02-14-08-Power-of-Positive-Thoughts-on-Your-Physical-Health.html -health information