What a tough thing... loving people who are different than us, especially when they have hurt us or have different values and perspectives. We see it each and everyday. Somewhere in the world, fights break out, gossip spreads, hatred and bitter feelings arise all due to a lack of compassion and love towards one another. However, there is more to why people act hostile towards one another that goes deeper than a lack of compassion and love. Ultimately, it all actually stems from fear.

Every morning I wake up I have two choices. I can choose to carry on my day with love and light or I can choose to be all things stemming from hate and fear. I know, it might sound a bit extreme. What is the definition of love and hate anyways...? To me, love is compassion, patience, open mindedness, kindness, gentleness, and hopefulness. Hate is self seeking, proud, jealous, resentful, sorrowful, and critical. 

We all have felt jealousy. We all have been critical, resentful, and we all have been selfish. The question is, why? Why have we been all those things, I mean, obviously they aren't good character traits? Well, we are human. We all have fears (insecurities or past experiences that have shaped the way we see things). 

To hate is easy, all you have to do is let resentment and fear continue to fester. But, we must understand, there is a price that we have to pay if we want to go down that road of bitterness. Little do people see, even the smallest bit of hate is poison and it does eventually, if not right away, spill into important areas of your life like your perspectives, relationships and often times if the hate is strong, it can put you into a depression and affect your overall well-being (physically, mentally, spiritually). To love after a dispute or hardship, now that's the hard choice you have to make yet so rewarding and freeing. 

It really is as simple as this... do you want to continue to feel bitter, insecure, and closed off to great possibilities or would you rather love, feel free, and pour out to others? After all, that's why we are here, that is our purpose, to pour out to others. If we are stuck in hate, there is no light within and no light to be shed. 

I was inspired to reflect and write this blog entry because I can admit, I have a difficult time loving people who are different than me. Some days I feel compassionate, full of love and light and other days people can really strike a nerve in me and I close up and grow negative. I have struggled to look past my experiences with people hurting me so I naturally "toughen up" and in turn become critical, proud, fearful, and insecure without even realizing it most times. 

The best example I could give for this would be from something that has really hit me deep... I have always had a hard time forgiving and understanding why my father did what he did and I hated every bit of his existence. I subconsciously allowed what he did to poison me and it certainly spilled into all areas of my life. As of very recent, I have come to the point where I am entirely sick of hating him and putting him down. Yes, I still have a small piece in me that longs to see him hurt like I did but you see, that is the hate in me. I have to trust God will take care of him and will also take care of me. There is certainly a stronger side in me that wants him to see the light and get help, repent, and move forward with God. At one point, he destroyed my soul yes, but, my soul isn't destroyed anymore. In fact, God is continuously renewing my soul through time and I am proud to say that I am finally in a place where I can look past what he did and see a mentally ill and hurting individual. Without God's help and constant prayer, I believe I would still hate him and allow the poison of hate to hurt myself and others. Plus, I am not one to judge anymore because I too have made terrible decisions fueled by fear and hate.

To me, there is a clear difference between how I act and feel about myself and others when I have hate and fear festering within to how I act and feel when I have love and light within. Ultimately, it is my decision how I want to act towards people and feel about myself and I think I am going to go with making the choice to love. Hate and fear has proven time and time again to defeat me. Loving myself along with loving people even with differences and flaws has always shown to be the safest bet (never easy especially if you have been let down a lot in life). By making the choice to love, there are great rewards such as unity, friendship, and more light shining through into you to pour out to others. 

I challenge you to go out into the world after reading this and choose love... just for today, try it and see how it feels. Love yourself, love the places you are going, and love others. If you like the feeling, try it again tomorrow! 

Have a blessed day!