We see them at our workplaces, often in our families, even in our marriages. Most of us have felt them; some of us are currently living in them. In our personal lives, they usually start as love relationships that build resentments over time. In our work lives, they may start without emotional content, but as people are thrown together on teams at work, they may develop honest affection that is coupled with irritations and aggravations at the work ethics and idiosyncrasies of others – especially when work products and promotions may ride on the success of the team effort.
Traditional marriage roles are especially good at engendering love-hate relationships. We often see couples who, the more the years pass, the deeper the love is, but simultaneously the more conflicted it is with unresolved issues and anger.
Maybe it is the prevalence of love-hate relationships – and the violence and pain that can result from the hate side of the equation – that lies at the root of the New Testament emphasis on love. The two main commandments are to love God and to love others. We are told that God is love and that we must strive to live as nearly like love as possible. Virtually all of the world religions emphasize compassion in human interactions, and compassion requires some level of love and an absence of hate.
One of our main tasks in life, apparently, is learning to love without allowing hate to grow up alongside it.