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.
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Sometime back, I touched on the destructiveness of hatred in the human story. While most of us would deny being guilty of actual hatred of our fellow human beings, we tend not to be so self-confident about the absence of bias in our life. I grew up in the 1930’s when blacks were segregated and Catholics and Jews noticed a measurable amount of prejudice and discrimination in various aspects of their lives. Thanks be to God, we have made great strides although we may have added a new dimension to distrust and hatred, namely our attitude towards those of the Muslim faith.
I write today to congratulate the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith. No one knows more about prejudice, hatred and violence than the Jewish people. They have experienced it for much of the last 2,000 years. However, instead of wringing their hands and wishing that things would improve, they are frequently launching many educational programs in every aspect of our society, programs that will cause thinking people to realize the destructiveness of prejudice and hatred and help people to take steps to lessen or eliminate it in the structures of our society.
A program that I really respect and admire is called “No Place for Hate” and it is especially addressed to school students. There are aspects of the programs that reach out to the business and academic communities as well.
God bless HEB. They have been generously supporting this program, and helping it to reach nearly 500 schools in Texas and continuing to expand. Cooperating businesses, organizations and communities of worship are encouraged to get involved. For information, contact Karen Gross at the Austin office of the Anti-Defamation League (512) 249-7960.
This is measurable progress. Let’s keep it up.
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Nearly all of us are struggling to stay focused on those two or three serious resolutions we made as we began the New Year. At the same, we must be conscious of the fact that the big problems that we were facing in 2011, whether as individuals or in our society, are still very much with us. Big problems don’t go away with the change on the calendar.
One of the big problems that has cursed the human family since the dawn of time is the question of hatred. Hatred has many causes but one of the most important is fear. We are afraid of people that are different and are insecure if someone around us is speaking a different language. Centuries of prejudice has caused tremendous pain and suffering that flowed simply from a different color of skin pigment.
I would like to think that most of the readers of this blog declare themselves free of hatred. Hatred is ugly, hatred is destructive, hatred produces tremendous unhappiness. We all know that but what about the underpinnings of hatred?
If we proudly declare ourselves free of hatred, can we say the same thing about bias? Are we ever guilty of stereotyping, insensitive remarks, belittling jokes? If we are guilty of bias, do they not lead into individual acts of prejudice? We have wonderful children and grandchildren. Does our hardly noticed bias ever flow into ridicule, name calling that is picked up by their young minds and imbedded in their thought processes?
Those interested in a more just society have long been reminded that you have to learn how to hate. Those who want that just society, those who want a unified community based on acceptance and non-discrimination, need to produce a counter process to teach our children love and acceptance that extends to EVERYONE.
It is early in the New Year. If you haven’t thought much of that over the last few days, try and tack it on to that wonderful list of resolutions you made last week.
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