By: Amber Harbin
How do we fight off hate? Well, from my faith point-of-view, we can fight it off doing it God's way. What is God's way? Well, God tells us to pray for your enemies, forgive them, never let the sun go down on your anger, and to shake it off. A lot of people may say, "It is easier said than done." They are right. It is extremely hard and it is not going to be easy. We are so spoiled and want things the easy way. I know we all wish we had some magic pill to get rid of all of our problems, but that is not how life works. In life, you have to fight for what you want. You have to put effort into a lot of things in life.
- Step 1: Do not fuel it with hatred of your own.
Sometimes, when people hurt us it causes us to develop hatred of our own. We let emotions rule our head and then we end up saying/doing something that makes the situation worse. If the hatred is happening on social media, block/report the person! Also, don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. Do not do it with hatred, however. Stand up for what you believe in with love, common sense, and maturity. Do not hate your brother, for if you hate your brother, you are not doing what Jesus told you to do.
Psalm 37:8 → Cease from anger and forsake wrath; fret not yourself...it tends only to evildoing.
Proverbs 15:1 → A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.
Proverbs 16:32 → He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, he who rules his [own] spirit than he who takes a city.
- Step 2: Accept Hatred will come your way.
When you stand up for who you are or accept yourself, hatred is bound to find you at some point. Why? Humans can be ignorant, hateful, and selfish creatures. Does that mean we let it get to us? No. Did you know a holocaust survivor chose not to let the hatred get to him? Viktor E. Frankl, who was in the holocaust, said a great quote that we should all remember. He said,“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”
So yes, hatred is going to come your way at some point. However, it is about how you handle the hatred that is given to you. You have to stand up for what you believe in and who you are, no matter what comes your way. People are going to disagree with you and not everyone is going to like you. You have to come to peace with that.
- Step 3: Forgive and move on.
When someone says hurtful things to you, sometimes it can be hard to walk away or even forget what they said. Words hurt more than people realize and can change a life, even end a life. However, we have to get to a point where we don't let words change who we are. Yes, we are allowed to get upset...otherwise we wouldn't be human beings. However, after we grieve a bit and think on it a few, it is time to put it behind you. Put it in an imaginary chest and throw it away in your mind. Why? If we dwell on something someone said, we will start to believe it. Forgive and move on.
From a faith point of view, it is great to pray for your enemies. Forgiveness is about forgiving when you are so pissed off you can hardly stand it! It isn't easy, but it gets easier each time you do it, especially with God's help and intervention. If you try to forgive through your own flesh[human desires], it is not going to work. Pray for them even if you are gritting your teeth and you feel like you don't mean it. God hears you and it will get easier every time, trust me.
- Step 4: Shake it Off/Use it to your advantage
It is time to shake off those words they said about you. They are not true and you don't care what they think. Just shake it off. YOU HAVE A CHOICE when it comes to taking offense. You don't have to take offense. Forgive, pray, move on, and ask God for strength. You can also use the painful words and experiences to change someone else's life. There are so many ways you can take hatred and turn it around for the better. For example, I was bullied for who I was and rejected by my family. Now, I have a twitter and a blog dedicated to letting people know God loves them and they should accept themselves. Everything happens for a reason.
How to Fight Off Hate [opinions from LGBTsupport.org]
Have you ever wanted a place where you could belong and be yourself? I, as a member of the LGBT community, used to find it hard to belong. When I was younger, sites like the Trevor Project or LGBTsupport.org didn't exist. Fortunately, the LGBT community has more support than they did years ago. One of the websites to go to, besides the Trevor Project, is LGBTsupport.org! :)
What is LGBTsupport.org and why is it important? It is a WORLDWIDE non-profit organization that provides a lot of helpful resources for the LGBT community. They have an online forum where LGBT advice, guidance, and support can be found. The website also offers suicide prevention assistance, along with help in tough situations. A tough situation would be like rape, domestic abuse, or being bullied. The founders of the website have their phones turned on twenty-four hours a day! Do not hesitate to call them if you need help. Also, call 911 if you are in a dire emergency!
I had the amazing privilege to interview them and get their opinion on how to fight off hate. Matt Stout, the main founder of the website, has experienced a lot of hate. In fact, he experiences it everyday as a waiter, because most of his customers don't believe in equality. Imagine, day after day, someone treats you like you are not part of society due to your sexual orientation. It is like being treated like an outcast because of your color. Because of Matt's experience with hate, he has learned how to fight it off when it comes his way.
Matt Stout: "I think we can fight off hate the same way I tell you! Just ignore the haters. Don't respond. Don't acknowledge the hate, to not give them fuel for the fire." He also went on to quote Miley Cyrus, the Hannah Montana and 'Wrecking Ball' star. "Remember only God can judge us, forget the haters -Miley Cyrus."
Matt doesn't handle the website alone, in fact, Rachael Acuff puts in the same amount of work as he does. Rachael also has suggestions on how to fight off hate and what it takes to let it go.
Rachael Acuff: "I think when fighting off hate, you need to be strong in yourself, you need to have confidence in what you believe. You need to have a voice when seeing acts of hate being committed. I think the best advice that I can give to others experiencing hate is to report it if at school or work setting. And always have a strong support system around you of people you trust. Having someone to talk to about struggles your having in your life is one of the most important things you can have to make life a little easier. Forgiveness is a hard thing to do when facing someone who may have caused you a lot of pain, but it is vital in order for you to heal. It isn't something that can be rushed. It has to come at a time when you are ready to face the person and the hate they subjected you to. I don't believe people should shake off the hate so much as taking it and turning it around into something positive."
Believe it or not, Rachael has hated a person once. She shared with me her experience and how she learned to forgive that person. Letting go of hate is a process and Rachael realizes that. That is what makes her a better person, because she took a step back and realized she needed to walk in love instead of hate.
Rachael Acuff: "I have personally experienced feelings of hate toward my ex-husband. I had to get to a point where I was ready to forgive him. I had to look at all of the good things he did for me and not just the bad. When I was able to really step back and do that I was able to forgive him for what he had done and it allowed me to finally heal. And quit feeling the pain of the past. I still have little respect for him, but I no longer hate him."
How do YOU fight off hate?
How do you fight off hate? What experiences have you had and what tips can you share for everyone else to see? It might appear in future posts :)
With Love, Amber