It is easy to hate a bad behavior that no one in your family does.
In the New Testament of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 15:22 says, Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
(If you hang around mean classmates, you might become a mean classmate.)
Society too, teaches us to stay away from people who do bad things.
The easiest way to teach us to stay away from bad people, is to teach us to hate them.
But It is more difficult to hate a bad behavior that a parent or grandparent or a sibling is doing.
Some kids feel that if they hate a relative’s bad behavior, they must also hate the relative doing the bad behavior.
But, if they love parents who do bad things, how long will it be before they start doing the same bad things?
This is a problem.
If we are raised in a home with bad behavior, we must choose to either hate or to imitate the bad behavior.
Hate or imitate.
Some people think if we are supposed to hate a behavior, we must also hate the person doing the bad behavior.
A better solution is to hate the behavior, not the person.
A dad is dad. A mom is mom.
A part of us wants to love our dad and mom, no matter how badly they may behave.
We don’t want to hate them.
But we have to protect ourselves from their influence, and sometimes from their badness.
There are kids who need to call the police, because a relative abuses them intentionally, like refusing to feed them.
That is the proper thing to do.
Hate or imitate.
We need to hate bad behavior so we don’t imitate it.
YET, yet, it is okay to not-hate the relatives that do that bad behavior.
How do we do that?
There is another mode we can go into, that many people don’t know about.
It is the Respect/Disrespect mode.
I have young relatives that I care about, that have done bad behaviors. I care about them, both for their mortal lives, and for their eternal souls.
I am able to love these people whose behavior I hate.
How do I do that?
I can love their souls, while I disrespect them as humans for their choices.
I decide to love them, yet at the same time I disrespect them for the things they do.
So, I am able to love someone unconditionally, yet not accept them unconditionally,
so their selfishness or addicitions can’t pollute me too.
And this means I don’t have to support their misbehavior to prove my love,
for I am only required to respect people that are respectable.
One shade of adulthood is unconditionally loving the disrespectable,
without unconditionally accepting
those engulfed in bad behavior, and not contribute to their badness by accommodating it.
You haven’t grown up, until you can separate unconditional love and unconditional acceptance.
They are not the same thing.
I’m so sorry that so many children have to struggle with this, but it happens.
Eric J. Rose