When anger leads to hatred, we have a problem. Hatred harbors ill will and is always negative. When we find ourselves hating another person, we have lost sight of the fact they are also a person made in the image of The Divine. Anger comes and goes. It can be released with little effort or with great effort, but anger can be overcome. Hatred, however, is the stuff of which feuds and wars are made.
Anger says you were wrong, or you wronged me. Hatred declares you are wrong, and I will hurt you and you don’t deserve to exist. Anger may say, “I don’t get mad, I get even.” But hatred says, “I don’t get mad, and I don’t get even — I get ahead.” Whatever you did to me, I will do to you and more.
Yet even hatred can and must be overcome if we want to live a happy and peaceful life. We search our hearts for any signs of anger that could lead to hatred and eradicate them through love and forgiveness. We also search our hearts for any hatred that has formed and we eradicate that disease also through love and forgiveness. If we are not ready to let go of the anger and hatred, then our best tool is this simple prayer: “Divine Spirit, help me to want to forgive.” Sometimes, that is the best we can do, at least for the present moment.
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