As we go through life observing the world around us, we see many things that are destructive. Dams break and flood valleys. Cancer attacks our vital organs and calls us early to Judgment. Speeding automobiles spew out death, especially on long holiday weekends. Pain and suffering are all around us. However, none of these terrible things can generate the pain, the suffering, and the destruction as does human hatred- this frequently present aberration in the human psyche where one person or a group of persons or an entire nation develops tremendous dislike, antipathy and hatred for other persons or groups.
Psychiatrists have studied for years trying to figure this sad reality out but it is all really fairly simple. Most of us are uncomfortable with people or things that are different and when we are confronted by those differences we sometimes seem to react with fear. Since we can’t admit to ourselves that we are frightened, then sometimes we kick in another response which is hatred.
Would that all too vigilant, self-appointed night watchman have shot that young black teenager on his way home from the convenience store if he did not already have hatred in his heart for people who are different? I don’t know but God does. The American officer who shot men, women and children in that Afghan village – could it have possibly have happened at home in his own neighborhood? I doubt it. I am not judging the poor man. That is God’s chore. However, I do think that an enormous amount of damage is generated day-by-day, year in and year out, by people who allow hatred to develop in their hearts for different groups of people.
We are called to be loving people. We are called to respond to God’s love and we respond to God’s love best by manifesting it ourselves in our dealings with those around us. Let’s pray today that we can continue the never-ending task of lessening hatred within our ranks.