Proverbs 10:11-12

Hatred stirs up dissension,
but love covers all transgressions.

I’ve never been in a real fight. I’ve gotten hit a few times. Those are stories for another day. However, just yesterday my wife and our two oldest kids were walking back from seeing the Harlem Globetrotters. (My wife gets all kinds of stuff for free because she’s so awesome!) I couldn’t find parking, so I ended up parking at a mall and riding light-rail (MAX) to the Rose Garden. On our way back to the car, there was a fight going on in the park attached to the max station. We made sure to avoid it, since we didn’t want our kids anywhere near that.

But, as I was watching and later thinking about that, it was so ridiculous. Why do people fight? I don’t understand it. I honestly think it’s for attention. I think people are addicted to attention, and when they’re not getting enough of it, they start picking fights to get some – even if it hurts.

Hatred is that guy that you all know. He sees a weakness and starts pushing it. He sees a hornets nest and starts poking at it with a stick. He gets some kind of sick satisfaction out of making people fight with each other. You’ve probably experienced him a time or two in your life. He probably stirred up some problems for which you paid the price for days or weeks after. Hatred would like to capture your mistakes on video and put them on YouTube.

Hatred is easy. It doesn’t take any effort to hate. Sure, it sucks the life right out of you, but it doesn’t take effort. In fact it can feel kind of nice to have an enemy. For some reason, having an enemy makes a lot of things easier. It’s easier to pin everything on a bad guy than to take responsibility for our own actions.

Love on the other hand, you have probably experienced less of in your life. Love takes a lot more work and intentionality. If someone is going to love, they are going to have to work at it. It’s not easy to look past someone’s mistakes. It much easier to point them out and ben annoyed by them. Love looks for ways to make your mistakesĀ disappear. Love goes to YouTube and flags the video so you don’t have to suffer theĀ embarrassmentĀ of it.

Love is hard. Love has to work hard to avoid making enemies. Love works hard to keep relationships functioning in a healthy way. Love takes the blame for the mistakes, even if it’s not on them. It’s a lot harder to truly love.

So, the question for today is are you going to be someone who stirs up love or hatred. We’re still in the context of hard work, not being lazy, being a farmer, etc. From that, we can conclude that the work that has to be done for Love is going to be hard. The lazy person is the one who stirs things up.

You know what happens when you stir things? You take the attention off of yourself and your fatal flaws and put the spotlight on someone else’s imperfections. When you get a couple of people fighting over something, all of a sudden, people don’t care how stupid you are. Everyone knows you are a fool, but for a moment their attention is diverted to the fight. However, in the end, the fool gets what he wants – more attention. People look at him as some kind of sadistic puppet master. And the people who may have been trying to cover something with love are forced to deal with their situation in public. All thanks to Hatred.

So, before you stir up your next fight – maybe just get some attention somewhere else first. Volunteer somewhere, maybe get a dog. Whatever your attention needs are that aren’t being met aren’t worth stirring up controversy just so you have something to do.