Do You Hate Well?

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hate-wellI came across a book by Dr. Henry Cloud several years ago entitled 9 Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life: A Psychologist Learns from His Patients What Really Works and What Doesn’t
I have a tendency to skip through books at first and hit the high points before I sit down to read it through.  As I was looking through this book there was one chapter that drew my attention quickly.  It was chapter eight and Principle 6: Hate Well.

Hate well!  I had never heard anyone put these two words together. Dr. Cloud starts explaining this phrase by first telling the story of how he was leading a seminar one evening when he asked those in attendance to “list what comes to mind when they thought of the word hate?”  This is the response of the group:

  • You should not feet it.
  • I do it too easily.
  • I feel guilty for feeling it.
  • It comes from fear.
  • I feel uncomfortable with hate.
  • I am afraid to show it.  (page 141,  9 Things You Simply Must Do)

These types of answers are how most people would respond.  However, Dr. Cloud says that hate is “one of the most important aspects of being human.” (p. 141) He goes on to say that hate is one of the more crucial characteristics of a good person and “how we hate” is as important as “what we hate.”

“What we hate says a lot about who we are, what we value, what we care about.  And how we hate says much about how we will succeed in love and life.” (p. 142)

Dr. Cloud points out that how we are defined as people is determined by what we love and the things we hate.  It is also easy to define other people by what they hate.  When someone shares with you the things that they dislike, this is a tendency to show their personality.

There is much more to consider about the emotions and feelings of hate!

Whether we like it or not, what we hate plays a part in defining our unique personality.  We can discover a lot about ourselves and other people by what we hate.  According to Dr. Cloud our character is formed in many ways by what we move against. 

The character of most individuals is created and grows by what they oppose.  Here are three points to consider:

  1. One of the first things that hate does for us is help us move against “certain traits and issues, thus becoming different from them.” (144)
  2. Hate also encourages and helps us to guard and protect what we value.
  3.   Hate can be defined as part of the “immune system of the soul.” It guard use from certain types of people and behavior. (145)

If hate goes unchecked it can be extremely dangerous.  Dr. Cloud puts it this way,

“Some of the worst diseases are of the class called autoimmune.  Within that classification is disease in which the immune system starts attacking the body itself instead of the disease.  The healthy cells and organs are attacked, and health is destroyed in the process.  A system designed to protect the good and destroy the bad goes wrong and begins to do the opposite.  It causes more harm than good.  The same thing happens when a person does not hate well.  His uses his hatred in a way that hurts things he cares about, such as people, a home, or even himself.  It can be an ugly autoimmune disease of the soul and life.”  (146)

I never really thought that “hate” could be a helpful tool however; there are times when it is justified and needed.  In Proverbs 6:16-19 the Bible teaches us that there are certain things that he “hates.”

There are six things which the Lord hates,

Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:

Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,

And hands that shed innocent blood,

A heart that devises wicked plans

Feet that run rapidly to evil,

A false witness who utters lies,

And one who spreads strife among brothers.

There is also an act of justified “hate” in the New Testament when Jesus saw what was taking place in the temple.

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  And he found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.  And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making my Father’s house a place of business.” (John 2:13-16)

There certainly are times when to hate something can be done in a way that expresses deep conviction and truth.  The writer of Proverbs and the actions of Jesus confirm this.

What are your thoughts on this matter?   Do you think it is possible to “hate well?”

Dale Roach

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