Does the Bible teach hate? I hope we all know that the answer is no. Even the much maligned and misunderstood Old Testament does not teach hate. While the Jews are taught in the Law that they are the chosen people, they are also taught to never forget that they were once strangers in a foreign land. And so they are to treat the foreigner as they would have wanted to be treated.
But in today's gospel Jesus says,
You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
This is one more example of what is not meant to be taken literally. It is hyperbole. What Jesus witnessed was that this was what people were being unofficially taught. This was the way people behaved.
Are we that different? After all, as Christians we know the words:
But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you
But is this what we live? Is this how the children hear us talk about foreign policy ? We may never directly tell them to hate anybody. But what are the indirect messages that they get from us? What are the messages that we teach through our actions?