In most circumstances, hate isn't a good thing. But on occasion, hate can help you make changes in your life- as well as help those around you.
How? Let me tell you about my most recent adventure.
My family and I went for an overnight visit to a writing friend of mine. We had a blast playing cards and chatting with them while the kids played and played and played. My husband and I did all the cooking in exchange for beds for the night, so we brought a carload of fresh ingredients and made meals for all ten of us, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We ate like kings, and made enough leftovers to fill their freezer.
Life was good until I heard the words 'Let's go for a little hike'. My heart sank.
They live near the mountains, and having been on a hike called the Appalachian trail before with my own family (years ago when I was really stupid), I knew what 'going on a hike' meant- it meant I was going to hold everyone back, or be walking the trail by myself.
In the entire group of ten, I was the only one who was overweight. I didn't like being fat, but I was content as long as I had a sturdy chair under me and didn't have to move a lot. Everyone wanted to go, so off I went, already embarrassed and a bit angry because I knew what was going to happen.
Understand that I wasn't angry at my friends or family, I was angry at myself for being fat. I could have done something months ago, but my complacency mired me in my own muck- and now I was paying the price.
We started up the trail and already the guys were making a beeline for the next rise. My friend was pushing her toddler in a walking stroller, and wasn't even breaking a sweat as we made our way up.
Now my friend is a pretty classy chick, because she didn't complain about all of the others leaving us behind (yes, I said us). I knew she could keep up with them, but she held back and walked (and occasionally stopped) at my pace.
She could have tried to coax me to go faster. She could have huffed and puffed because we were going so slow, or became impatient when I had to stop to nurse a hip beginning to suffer from bursitis (also in part because I was too danged heavy). What did she do instead? She admired the forest, thanking me for allowing her to slow down and enjoy the trail in a new light.
And when we stopped so I could rest, she let her little one out to explore a pretty flower or a passing butterfly.
What amazed me is that she really was enjoying herself. She wasn't just being polite!
The hate I held in my heart could have easily turned to self-hate. I'm so very good at self-hate! I still felt horrible about holding her back, but the energy I put into the hate began to change. The hate turned to a hate for my sin, and not for me. Oh, I'm still not thrilled with myself (not by a longshot!), but the fire in my heart was becoming a fire for change.
I contemplated this on the drive home. I started thinking about ways I could make small changes, while setting goals for bigger ones. I also thought of ways we could do more active things as a family. But first I had to change me- and my attitude about myself.
I'm a sinner- other than that I'm just about perfect (not to mention modest)!
And if the hate is a good hate, it will help me make better life choices because I hate the sin, not the sinner!