27 May 2011

How Can Hate And Love Co-exist?

Hate and love never co-exist in equanimity, but they do co-exist. They co-exist in the sense that no one is perfected (and, in Christian doctrine, everyone is a sinner by nature), and so though we love ourselves enough to want the best, we also dislike, and try to improve the worst. This is the essence of Christian self-care (as distinct from selfishness and self-interest.)
Does this mean we are supposed to accept what is wrong just as if it were not? No, we need not accept what is disjointed in this world. CS Lewis clarifies what we too often muddle when he states it difference in a personal vein:
"I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that I must hate a bad man's actions but not hate the bad man: or, as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner.
I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man?
But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life -- namely myself.
However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. There had never been the slightest difficulty about it. In fact the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things."
  • CS Lewis