If you have watched any professional football lately you may have seen a variety of messages on the backs of players’ helmets. I was recently struck by the words, “Stop Hate” that I saw. Curious, I looked on the Internet and saw that the NFL is permitting several different helmet messages as part of its ‘Inspire Change’ social justice initiative. “Stop Hate” is one of those messages.
Can’t argue with that! Who doesn’t want less hate in the world?
I suspect that most people who read that message responded by thinking, “Yeah, those haters should stop hating!” I wonder how many of them considered that they could be the very “haters” the message is directed to?
It’s not normal for humans to be that self-aware. It usually takes a little humility and some difficult circumstances to take an honest look at ourselves and admit that we have issues. Moral messaging like the NFL is doing, though commendable, isn’t going to go very far unless the people you mean to change want to change.
What’s more, even if someone is brave enough to admit he needs to change, the mere admission won’t help him to change any more than New Year’s resolutions help most of us to lose weight. We need more than nice words and good intentions.
For those who suspect they may need to change the rest of this article is for you. We’re going to show you a proven way to turn haters into lovers.
You don’t have to believe in God to admit that the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are very helpful here. Not only did he teach on this subject well, he also lived what he taught.
He taught us to love our enemies, and then he did so. He never struck out against the people who were continually wishing him harm. When they finally got around to killing Jesus, he publicly forgave them, giving them the benefit of the doubt. He thought the best possible thoughts of the people who were murdering him by choosing to believe that they weren’t really aware of what they were doing.
Jesus loved everyone, even the haters. His life is proof that hate can be stopped. What he did for himself he promised to help us achieve by his power (Christians here read “grace” – Titus 2:11-12)
Do you believe in amazing grace? I pray you do. In our next article we will discuss the ways that Jesus gave us to measure how well we are doing in being lovers and not haters.
© Tony Nardella 2022