My four year old is full of love. It overflows from her heart, eyes, and mouth like a seventh grade volcano experiment gone nuclear. Everything is her favorite. Granted, the world is ending at the drop of a hat or the forgetting of an all-important toy. Nonetheless, love pours out of her. It spreads to people around her. She makes me want to love more.
Following are some of the things we hear regularly come out of her mouth.
“I love you, Rosalie!!!” *kiss kiss smooch smooch kiss* [Me: “Give your sister some space, Livvy.“]
“I love you a hundred ten eleven twelve times, Daddy–like God and my family!” (I hope this is the highest number she can think of right now…because it’s not really very big. I try not to think about this too much.)
“I love watching new Sophia the First shows!!!!!!!!!!”
I love this dress!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
[Sorry for all of the exclamations. Four year olds tend to utilize them for 90% of their speech.]
OK, so we’ve established that my kid loves Rainbow Dash. And lots of other things. But what should she hate? I anticipate that she’s going to talk about hating certain things some day. Asparagus. The DMV. Her parents, in a teenage angsty fit of rage she won’t honestly mean. A school bully. Star Wars prequels.
I get that. Still, I’m not looking forward to when Livvy starts to think in terms of hate. I am in awe of how little ones can love with all of their being and forgive really easily. I love that about kids. So, I’m saddened at the thought of when she’ll come to that crossroads in her psychological development.
Have you ever looked at the things you would put on a your hate list? What are things–or people–you could remove from that list? What energy has been put towards hating stuff that you can never get back? I wonder if we reevaluated this, would we be freed up to experience love more often? Would we be released to offer our love more easily?
If you do a quick check of all the times that Jesus used the word hate, He uses it in three different ways.
- Correcting our view of what/who we should hate
- Teaching us that we should hate anything that gets in the way of your relationship with God
- Predicting the hate you will receive because you follow Jesus
What should jump out to us is the way Jesus most often uses the word hate. The Christ uses this word the most when encouraging disciples to disregard any hate that comes their way–because they are His disciples. In fact, Jesus turns hate on it’s head. The Old Testament says that God hates sin, divorce, etc. Jesus flips things around and teaches that we should focus on the love. He shoves hate to the side! Love gets the spotlight from now on.
“Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” is something the disciples taught once they were on their own. I can’t help but think that if we start to get a handle on that, then the things we easily hate won’t seem to haunt us quite as much.