This is a very interesting descriptor of what internal emotions do to the external actions. When a person hates you no matter what they say they feel about you, they stir up strife in relationship to you. They don't want to have anything to do with you. When a person loves you and wants your best and is willing to pursue you and have you pursue them, then they will be willing to overlook your faults and transgressions. They are covered.
When you have apologized for a transgression, it is often helpful to test and see if the other person is really willing to cover the problem or they still hate you. If they will not engage in another conversational topic or will not let you touch them (hug, touch, shake hands, kiss, arm around), then they are still closed toward you and the hatred is still there and will derail your relationship.
This is the Hebrew word sinah which means hating, hatred. The clear idea is that some form of bitterness and extreme negative feelings have attached to a person. Interestingly Solomon asks us to look inside of ourselves and look at who we have developed an extreme dislike towards. Sometimes it is for silly reasons. Sometimes it might be for legitimate reasons. But if we allow that ball of hatred to stay within us, it will cause strife with that person and potentially with lots of people.
This is why the message of the Old and New Testament is that we must learn how to forgive. We must learn how to love greater than our hate. We must learn to hand vengeance to the Lord and not try and exact our own revenge.
This is the Hebrew word awr which means to awaken, to start, to move, to agitate. Clearly the idea in this verse is that Solomon tells us if you are harboring hatred for another person for some reason, it will come out. Your hatred awakens a need to be at odds with that person or potentially someone else. It is your hatred that does this. Until you deal with the issue or person that is causing the bitterness or hatred, you will go around stirring things up.
I have watched people who cannot help themselves from saying the volatile thing. Their face says, "I have been hurt and I will strike back." So many people change the trajectory of their life because they do not want to give up on their hatred of a particular person. If you allow hatred to live inside of you, then you will begin to cause strife with others even when you are not meaning to. You can learn all the people skills you want, but you need to deal with the hate in your heart.
Now I know it is not easy to let go of your hatred towards a person because of what they have done. In fact what they have done may be truly evil in the highest sense of that word. But if you let your reaction to what they did live inside you too long, it will change you.
This is the Hebrew word medan which means contention, strife, controversies, discord. The clear idea is that hatred in your soul will make its way out in your conversations and relationships. We have all seen this and most likely been a part of this ourselves. We are angry at someone at work, but we can't get mad at them openly so we gripe or complain at someone else or are on edge with our spouse at home.
When we are asked why we are so on edge, we declare,
"It’s not you."
“I am just upset."
What the other person wants to say is,
"Fine, I am glad you are not mad at me but stop being so grumpy or critical or irritable."
"Get over it."
"Because right now you are a pain to be around."
Now what this verse gives us insight into is if there is a person at work or in your family or in the neighborhood who is just always picking a fight or taking a contrary position, then they most likely have hatred in their heart that is not completely resolved.
Solomon's solution to the hatred in your heart and the strife you may be experiencing from someone else is...
The Hebrew word translated love here is the word ahabah which does mean love. To love someone is to meet their needs, to pursue their soul, and/or to please them. When someone is ornery or always picking fights, loving them can be difficult; but it still is the solution. Sometimes what this person really needs is to have a no-holds-barred conversation about how they are coming across. I have had a number of tough love conversations with people in which they really thanked me for the honesty.
Also some times the love that needs to be expressed is towards the person that is the object of the hatred in your heart. This may be the real aim of Solomon's advice here. We must get over the hatred. The only way to do that is to overwhelm the hatred you feel with some form of real love. It may be that you need to meet a need in them that is causing them to act the way they do. It may be that you need to pursue their soul through listening or relating. It may also be that you need to exercise some tough love by meeting their need for reality or justice. But somehow you must deal with the hatred that is creating the fuel for the strife you are causing in the rest of your life.
In almost all of our lives there is someone who hurt you or wronged you in some way. What they did can stay with you unless you deal with it. Find a way to love them so that what they did is no longer the dominant thought you have about them.
I will say that sometimes one of the greatest acts of love is to hand them over to God for any justice that needs to be meted out. Romans 12:17 If we are still trying to handle the justice, then it never gets handled and the hatred is still there.
For offenses of a personal or less than criminal variety, find a way to bless this person, to help this person. You will find that this diffuses your hatred and therefore diffuses this general irritability that affects you other relationships.
This is a Hebrew preposition al which means on, over, opposite and because of those meanings it is usually translated in this type of sentence as cover, forgive, or conceal. The idea here is clearly that your love for a person that you once hated would be so strong that it would cover over or be on top of the hatred and eventually dissolve the hatred. You want the best for that person even in spite of what they did to you. You want that person to have what they need, so they will not continue to act in a way that caused them to hurt you. Cover over your hatred with love so that your life is not filled with unneeded strife.
This is the Hebrew word pesa which means crime, offense, wrong doing. Love is the acid that is strong enough to dissolve hatred. There is a need Solomon notices to stop hatred from twisting your soul. It is inevitable that you will be hurt in this world. The most successful people expect this to happen, but they do not hold on to the hatred that they may initially feel. They cover over their negative feelings with a desire to bless others, meet their needs, and pursue them. Yes, I know that the other person doesn't deserve it, but do it anyway. It will result in a much better life.
Let me wrap this up with a few observations that Solomon is making. First, if you are having a lot of trouble getting along with others, you need to look and see if there is hatred in your heart that needs to be resolved. Second, if you have someone in your family or at work who is just disagreeable and always causing strife, you can be sure that they have hatred in their soul that is fueling the whole mess. If you cannot get them to overcome their hatred, they will damage if not destroy their potential. Third, love is strong enough to dissolve hatred if it is used properly. Love in the right doses and in the right way can overwhelm hatred and bring back your life to the fullest. Don't let your hatred of a person rob you of the relationships and joy you could have.