My mother used to say, “Hate and anger are acids which destroy the containers they are stored in!” I firmly believe that sentiment!
I also firmly believe the best way to destroy hate is to start loving the person you formerly hated! Let me give you an example.
I used to know two sisters-in-law who did not like each other. One sister in law (Lou) was married to a man who loved his deceased mother’s chocolate cake. His sister, Dot, wouldn’t give Lou her recipe for the cake which made Lou furious because she felt she should have the recipe since it belonged to her husband’s mother. The sisters-in-law had never really liked each other let alone loved each other but they tried to act civilly for the sake of Lou’s husband who was, of course, Dot’s brother! After Dot repeatedly refused to give Lou the recipe, the sisters-in-law became less and less civil to each other.
One day an idea occurred to Lou. She had tried everything she could think of to have a better relationship with her sister-in-law except one thing–PRAYER! Maybe if she prayed that Dot would change her mind and give her the recipe, she would finally get the cherished family recipe! At first Lou’s prayer was just that she would get a copy of the recipe but as time went by Lou noticed a change in her own heart. She began to see that her sister-in-law had many substantial problems. Lou was a stay at home mom while Dot was the family bread winner because her husband suffered from war injuries. Soon Lou started praying for Dot’s well being and financial improvement. Lou’s prayers for her sister-in-law became more heartfelt and with a softening of her heart came more compassion. One day as Lou was praying she discovered that for the first time in her life she could begin to see things from Dot’s point of view and then a miracle occurred–Lou realized she was beginning to feel love for her sister-in-law!
From then on things improved mightily. The sisters-in-law began to enjoy talking on the phone and seeing each other at church! The miracle did not stop there. One day Lou was cleaning out an old silver urn her husband had inherited when his mother had died. Lou knew there were old papers at the bottom of the urn but she wasn’t that interested in what they were. As she pulled the papers out of the urn, the title of one of the papers caught her attention. It read “Family Recipes.” With quivering hands, Lou unfolded the recipes and discovered the recipe for her mother-in-law’s chocolate cake. All the time she was fretting and stewing over that recipe, Lou had a copy of it in her own home!
Both sisters-in-law and Lou’s husband are in Heaven now. The last few years of their lives they lived in peace, and harmony and yes, in love for each other!
So the next time you feel anger or hatred for someone, don’t just forgive the person–pray for him or her! The person who will benefit the most just may be–YOU!
Until next time,
Love from your friend Hope