Hatred vs. Humility

Hatred played a major role in the days leading up to Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. But, humility had the larger part: Jesus' example is for us all to prove daily.

By Caryl W. Krueger

Categories: Easter (Passion Week), Spring/Easter

Hatred versus humility doesn't sound like a fair fight! But as caring parents, you have an opportunity this month to make some useful points, since the events we celebrate in April are stunning examples of both hatred and humility. Hatred seems to be winning as it swirls around the world and also into our homes. Of course you are alert to bullying, meanness, prejudice, misinformation. But what are you going to do about it? Fight back and turn the tide! Make this your April mission!

The first week of April marks Passion Week, the days from Palm Sunday to Good Friday, and culminating with Easter Sunday. Certainly hatred played a major role in these days leading up to Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. And Jesus' response? Humility! You can read many details in Matthew 26, 27, and 28. Choose the pertinent verses to share and discuss.

Next, the Jewish holiday of Passover begins April second. Here again we see that the hatred the Egyptians felt for the Jews, was countered by the humble persistence for freedom as lead by Moses. You can read Exodus 5 and Exodus 7 onward (the plagues) and chapter 12 on how the Passover became an important event through the years. Respect for others' beliefs is heightened by this compelling story.

Your youngsters probably know only bits and pieces of these two stories (and they probably have no idea of how far apart historically they are). But most youngsters fall into the hatred trap and dismiss humility as weakness. "I hate my little sister." "I hate this food." "I hate school." The "h" word is actually more damaging than the popular four-letter insults!

Once I asked my teen age Sunday school class to define both words. One guy said "Hatred is my deep disgust over things I don't agree with." Then, our discussion went on as we soon found that hatred is based on the notion that the world should revolve around us, rather than how we can revolve around God to make all creation a paradise. Humility didn't fare much better among the teens: "It's just an excuse for wimps to quietly give in and let others run everything." (The current movie "Amazing Grace" is an excellent one for teens to see with you. In it you'll learn the merits of not giving in to evil, not being a wimp, yet having humility.)

Keying off these two false definitions given by the students, you can have a meaningful discussion with your family about hatred versus humility.

  • Re-read the Exodus story.
    • Ask why the Egyptians hated the Jews and what they did about it.
    • Why are Jews hated today in some countries?
    • How did humility play a part in Moses' desire to free the slaves and lead them home?
  • Re-read the Passion Week story. [Matt 21-28; Mark 11-16; Luke19:29-24; John 12-21]
    • Learn why Jesus was hated.
      Today, anyone doing the spectacular things he did would be given the keys to the city and featured on every TV newscast!
    • What was Jesus' reaction to the hatred?
    • Can there be strength in humility?
  • Finally, consider how to lessen hatred right in the home environment (maybe even ban use of the word).
    • And then, what can individually be done to decrease hatred at school and in the community.
    • How could those "in power" in the world stem hatred with humility?
    • And how we can show within our own circle that humility is true strength.
  • When the holiday celebrations are over, consider another April date: Sunday the 15th. It is Holocaust Remembrance Day. This terrible event was the result of hatred, but the violence was met in many cases with humility. (The movie "Schindler's List" is a good one for teens to see.)
    • Do your youngsters know what the holocaust was?
    • Are they aware that in Europe, many student textbooks now say, "it never happened?"
  • And one final April event, not to be missed by your family. It is April 1st - April Fool's Day. Have a little fun, do a few pranks, then take on the valiant fight of humility versus hatred.