Shifting Our Focus: Choosing to Love When “They” Make it Hard

Before today, where you spend your time hoping that someday you’ll be able to overcome the diseased hate of the world, you were a little being.

Your eyes were full of wonder, and your heart was full of fantasy. You understood not the world around you, yet loved it.

You were able to love the simple things. In love with every beheld person, even behind your young shyness. You saw people with different colors of skin, but you didn’t know of the stereotypes they carried.

You heard discussions about hateful things, but you were too young to decipher their meaning.

Then like a ticking time bomb, the world’s rotations dawned on you. Your childish comprehension grew up. You began to realize that love is not warmly welcomed. Instead, it’s not intact. Not even in the hearts and souls of some so-called Christians.

Now you go about your days wondering; Is living to love worth it when there’s so much hate?

Hate and the Cut it Takes

There was a turning point where we discerned what hatred truly was—what it felt like. Perhaps it was presented by a first-grade teacher, a racial comment, a person who was supposed to be a loving parent, or from a child we attempted to become friends with. Wherever it made its introduction, it cut our souls deeply.

Even if it was something that seems pettily now, it shaped who we are as human beings. Because every action and every word creates something in us. For better or for worse.

This can vary from person-to-person. Some lose faith in humanity, while others allow the cut to encourage them to become mentally or spiritually stronger.

Nevertheless, hatred is best known for burrowing itself into the wound it created, infecting it and its carrier. Unlike a scratched knee, the wounds of a soul cannot easily be fixed.

The Cycle of Hate

As Christians, we know that hate is vermin to all humanity, but do we understand it? Most of the time, we merely feel the boisterous effects of it.

Therefore, we’re going to break down one of the most heard of historical events—the first murder—to learn something crucially powerful.

1. Genesis 4:3-5: Breaking of the Spirit

In Genesis 4:3-5, Cain and Abel can be seen bringing forth offerings to the Lord. We see Abel submitting the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions. Cain, on the other hand, “brought an offering of the fruit of the ground”.

As the story goes, Abel’s offering was respected in the eyes of God, and Cain’s was not. While the rejection of Cain’s offering is a mystery, it could have involved the heart put into the offering.

We must note that the Bible did not record everything during this time, and that’s okay. We are to trust God’s judgment, so we may allow ourselves to rest in the knowledge that there was a reason behind the rejection. (More on God’s judgment below)

As for Cain, he became very angry. He allowed the rejection to injure his spirit instead of strengthen it to pursue what the Lord was asking after.

2. Genesis 4:6-7: The Righteous Way

The Lord confronted Cain about his broken spirit, saying, “Why are you angry? And why has your [face] fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

This was God’s way of extending truth to Cain, warning him not to allow hatred to boil and brew. He was giving Cain the clear way out—the righteous way.

The righteous way is pushing to do well in the sight of God and when we fail to do so, to strive for God even more. We are not to allow the sin to overtake us but are to rule over it.

We all have this same opportunity; this guidance. It’s up to us to choose whether or not we rein in our bitter emotions. Do we allow it to overtake us or do we pursue God no matter the size of it?

3. Genesis 4:8: When We Choose Our Way

Cain, fueled by his hate and anger, chose his own way. He should have prayed for guidance in finding a way to cherish Abel but did no such thing. This resulted in a hate that boiled for too long, causing the slaughtering of his brother.

When we as people decide to take our own route out, we end up with more hate and/or more hurt than before.

Sometimes when one is hurting, they think that they may get some sort of relief by causing hurt to others. This feeling doesn’t last long though. More often than not, they keep attacking, hoping that one day it’ll be enough to fully quench their need for healing.

And others, simply don’t like us.

That’s a hard one to swallow, but if they don’t like us then rest assured that they are vocal about disliking others as well. Simply because there are people that hate us doesn’t mean something is wrong with us or that we should hate them in return.

4. Genesis 4:9-15: Christ’s Judgement

After all said and done, we are shown that consequences do follow for Cain. He became a “fugitive and a vagabond“.

Just because one is blinded, doesn’t mean they are free to knowingly cause mayhem, defying against what the Lord has commanded us to do.

Although Christ is the most loving, our role model for what love should look like, He has warned us throughout the Bible to flee from partaking in the evil works of the world.

The image of Cain standing before God is the ultimate picture of Christ’s authority. Only He has this kind of sovereignty.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

2 Corinthians 5:10 (CSB)

It is not our job to judge the ones who spew hatred from their hearts, but rather pray for them.

You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Matthew 5:43-44 (CSB)

Prayer is our mission, one we shouldn’t take lightly. When we find ourselves judging instead of praying, we began to feel superior to them when God views us all as equals.

Why is the Cycle of Hate Important For Seeking The Path of Love?

One sentence answer? We will never be able to completely love until we possess empathy for who we call our enemy.

Expanding on the above sentence, when we focus on someone’s hatefulness toward us, we’re focusing on our hate for them.

However, when we focus on the truth that they’re just like us— broken spirits—merely escaping their hurt the wrong way or following the wrong path, our focus shifts to praying for them with hearts of more compassion and more love.

And I know that it’s beyond challenging not to say, “But they’re ___.”

We’re so busy trying to fill in the blank that we forget God has already filled it in. It can never be removed nor changed.

He doesn’t write it once; He doesn’t write it twice. He writes it again and again and again. Every time that person sins, God writes His answer on the line:

Loved.

“But they’re loved.” 

Not only does God love them with everything He has to give, but He was also beaten, whipped, punctured, spat upon, and ultimately killed for them when He could have put an end to it all.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

Romans 5:8 (NKJV)

We must realize that we are in charge of choosing our paths. It’s a part of God’s love for us. While so-and-so has chosen their current path, we don’t have to follow the same one.

Think about that a little deeper. Allow it to hit the spot it most hurts; the wound. They hurt us and it’s not fair, but life wasn’t promised fairness. Not while we’re on this planet. When we’re pained by someone walking the wrong path, we find ourselves venturing onto it, too, because they ___.

That is what isn’t fair. When we sabotage our walk with the ultimate, all-powerful, loving Father because of human comments and actions.

Conclusion

Some are blinded by their brokenness, and it’s our mission as children of God to pray for them. Pray for their wounds to heal, for God to pour blessings onto their life, and for them to experience salvation.

Our hope should be in them discovering what love truly is.

Our eyes have been opened to the Cycle of Hate that has been taking place ever since Adam and Eve partook in the wickedness of that cursed tree.

We’re not discriminating against those who hate; we’re concluding that they are human, living in a shattered world, and choosing the wrong path.

Yet, when they show hatefulness to us, we immediately go into a sulk and an imitation of how they are living—hatefully.

Instead of this, we learned that we must stay on the path God designed us for—the one that leads to Him. We must also allow God’s great, everlasting love to fuel our own for the ones who make it hard to love.

Call-to-action: More than anything, I understand that it can be excruciating to pray for those who are hard to love.

With that motive, I am currently creating a guide curated with such a challenge at heart, offering outlined prayers, resources, and Bible verses to aid your prayer life.

By signing up for my email list, you’ll receive this guide directly to your inbox the moment it’s released.

I hope that you’ll allow me the opportunity to encourage you on your journey towards greater love.

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