Which came first? Hate or love? Good or bad? Chicken or egg?
The Talmud tells us that we are born with the Yetzer Hara, or Evil inclination, and that the Yetzer Tov (Good inclination) doesn’t come until we are older (around the time we start to learn Torah, as I recall.) The Christian world calls it Original Sin. Either way, is is our inheritance from Adam.
In the book of Yacov (James) this is confirmed when he tells us that through one man (Adam) sin entered the world.
This seems to be a good argument that evil, hate, and bad things were here first.
Not so. God existed before anything, and He is good. Adam and Eve were not evil, and did not know good from evil until evil was thrust upon them. So the answer to which came first, good or evil is easy- good was here first.
The answer to the question are we born good or evil is very different: we are born with the Yetzer Hara. That’s how the world is, a cursed place from the time of Adam. Through a mortal the world was cursed, and through a mortal the world was saved, that mortal being Yeshua ha Mashiach. There is another difference, though, one that the 1st Century Jewish population, as a whole, missed: the first man’s actions are completed and affect us while we are in this world, and the second man’s actions won’t be complete until we leave this world. Sin is of the body and of this physical world, but salvation is of the Spirit and the Kingdom of God.
So, why do I say we can’t love without hate? Because in this physical world there is no way to understand something without it having an opposite. Can I know cold without knowing heat? Can I understand the concept of courage if I don’t know fear? Someone who doesn’t know fear can’t be brave. Fear is something God gave us so we can protect ourselves (yes, yes, I know you are saying the Bible tells us we have been given a Spirit of victory not of fear, but this isn’t a spiritual discussion right now. If God hadn’t given us fear of death or pain or solitude we wouldn’t survive.)
Hate is here, and has been since the snake did the nasty to Eve. And we humans really caught on to evil. Within one generation we went from trickery to murder. I guess we are fast learners, but of the wrong things.
So, nu? What are we to do if hate, anger, murder, selfishness, and all these other evil, hedonistic feelings are, by definition, the natural state of being for us? Should we embrace them? I don’t think so.
Through the gift of the Ruach haKodesh, the Holy Spirit, we can overcome them. The Ruach is given freely, all we need to do is ask for it, and then the hard work begins. Like giving up an addiction to drugs, or food, or TV (Oy!- I have to give up TV, too? Nah- you’re OK with TV, just stay off the those nasty pay for view channels) we need to continually remember that we cannot stop these evil inclinations. They are a natural part of us and we will not be fully rid of them until the natural is over. Our only hope is in the Ruach, which can help us to control and overcome these inclinations.
Shaul (that nice Jewish boy from Tarsus many call Paul) said he was a wretch because he did what he didn’t want to, and couldn’t do what he wanted to do. If Shaul admitted that he struggled with his Yetzer Hara, how much more so will we have to struggle with it?
We can’t love until we know hatred. Ergo, we can’t want to love others until we have felt what it is like to be hated. I am amazed (not in a good way) that many minorities, people who have suffered hatred, are themselves hateful. I guess that’s the old Yetzer Hara at it, again.
I am glad that the Ruach teaches me that those who are hateful and mean are hurting, inside. I know because when I am hateful and mean it’s because I hurt. My hurt pride causes me to want to lash out at everyone and everything. In my natural being this is fine, in my Spiritual being I know this is wrong. The more hurt I feel, the more I should pray to God to remind me what it feels like being at the other end of hate. That’s when the Ruach can wake up the Yetzer Tov and remind me of what God wants of us.
You can always get someone to hate something by hating it, but it is much harder to get someone to love something by loving it. In this world, hate is the natural order of things, and love is not.
The truth, as I see it, is that hate is stronger. I know that sounds bad, and love can sometimes conquer hate, but hate is stronger because it is natural for us. Selfishness, hate, pride, all these feelings are of the natural world and we are born into them. They fit us like a custom made suit, and the world confirms this to us, daily. Just read the news.
We need God’s Spirit and His love to help us overcome these things. We can love someone and still hate some things about them, but we can’t hate someone and love anything about them, can we? Do you think that is possible? I don’t. I hope I am wrong.
But I do know that although there is nothing I can do, on and of my own, that will overcome my natural tendencies, with God all things are possible.
Hate sucks, love is wonderful. Look to God and ask for His love, His Grace, accept it and start to live a wonderful life. But be ready for hard work- it isn’t easy living the life of a reformed addict.