Any time you allow yourself to “hate” a person, you are giving that individual power over you. In many cases, hate is derived out of envy, jealousy, bitterness or unforgiveness. Hate is a strong word. It is a strong emotion. Your heart is a home; both hate and love cannot live there. Eventually, something will go wrong. Conflict will start and the home will be torn apart. God doesn’t want us to hate anybody but to love. He didn’t say we had to trust others or follow them. He didn’t say that we had to be a fool for others, either. But He did say for us to love them. I had to learn this the hard way in life. I had much bitterness towards others in the past and for what? It did me no good. I was feeling miserable and the people I had bitterness towards was living their life and could care less how I felt. The truth is – most of the people you hold grudges against, won’t forgive or even hate, probably don’t even care. Their lives are still moving regardless of how you feel towards them. That is truth! I allowed that bitterness to take my joy away in the past so many times. It is not OK for you to allow others to steal your joy. It is not OK to hate others. Ephesians 4:31 NIV says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Your negative emotions have a tendency to spill out and affect your family, friends and also your mental being. The best thing any of us can do is love others just as God loves us. Many of us do God wrong daily yet He still loves us. He wants His character to live in us. Hating others is only a mark against us that we are going to have to answer to when God sends His Son back. None of us are perfect. We all fail God daily. We all make mistakes. Yet, God still and will always love us. If it is someone today that you are having a hard time forgiving and are harboring hate towards, allow God to help you forgive. That is a burden He doesn’t want you to bear. Forgiving sets you free from all of that. Unforgiveness, hate and bitterness are heavy chains. When you hold on to these chains, they weigh you down. Release the chains. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13 NIV). Be Blessed. –S.L.M.