Letting Go of Hate

I’m attempting to go 19 days without the word HATE. Let me just say I ha—ooh I mean I really don’t like this test of myself. I assumed that it would be a lot less challenging; perhaps that’s why I chose to give it up. I’m certainly not above taking the easy road to self improvement!
I’ve never really liked the word but have used it often in my vocabulary. It’s been thrown around in my immediate family at times as a term of endearment. In fact my brother Ryan used to use love as the mockery I’d say “I hate you,” and he’d turn to me with his all too familiar grin of satisfaction (he knew by that point he’d truly upset me) and say “but I loovvee yooouu!” This usually made me so angry I’d begin to cry and run to my room.
The word truly held little meaning. I thought it hurt no one.
I was so used to the word that I never really saw the problem with using it. Then I had a child; then the world changed. It’s strange how we begin to hold ourselves responsible for so much more when there is someone significant in our lives. I guess this can be a very strong case for the need of relationships in our lives. Last year Marty struggled a great deal with boundaries. As he grew more autonomous he threw more fits and his anger was often targeted towards me: the horrible mommy who wouldn’t let him wear his dirty Spiderman shirt to school, again! It was the first time he told me he hated me that I knew the power that that small word I had seen as so insignificant had. I broke down into tears, yes I was already at my wits end with the latest fit, but it hurt me hearing someone I loved so dearly say such a thing to me, even when I was confident he didn’t mean it. It conveyed his emotions clearly, but at what cost? I couldn’t help but feel a) responsible for that particular vocabulary lesson and b) as if my son had changed a little. By accepting the word into his speech he had just gained a tool in creating a place that was no longer innocent. A small piece of my heart broke.
Imagine the way Jesus feels every time I use the word. It can’t be any better than how I felt the first time my child used it. Only when I say I hate something, I am saying it about something he put in my life. I’m not only breaking his heart a little each time, but also in a way I am being ungrateful for the gift he gave me. I just can’t accept that from myself.
So I’m letting go of hate. I challenge you to also let go.

– Heather

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