I’ve been blathering on for months, complaining about people who hate. I love love, but I hate hate, and I hate haters, a category I have recently lumped a large number of people into, taking it upon myself to determine they are terrible for hating. When I realized just how much I hated all of these haters, I knew I had a problem. And I knew I wasn’t alone.
I’m not supposed to hate, right? I’m a Christian and a pastor’s wife, but alas, I’ve fallen down on the job.
I feel it both when the police kill innocent people and when people kill the police who put their lives on the line to protect us. I find myself hating action and inaction. I hate what we’ve become, but also what we used to be. Power and the absence of power. Obsessiveness, and ignorance. Braggadocio and spinelessness. I hate racism and sexism and xenophobia and homophobia and fear-mongering and then I find myself hating the people I have determined haven’t hated that same stuff enough. I hate reading the news, but also not reading the news. Don’t even get me started on the comments section of any article about anything – whether it’s politics or the Golden State Warriors. The comments section is where my fury gets a real workout. I hate inequality and injustice which I think we’re supposed to, but I can feel almost the same level of anger towards everyone from Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans to total strangers who disagree with me on anything, which means, I’ve covered every single one of you. Family, friends, everybody.
And that’s just the darkness contained in my heart…the heart of just one white, (almost?) middle-aged, middle-class, usually chipper Christian mom who wants peace and love and unity, and for everybody to be nice to each other. I want equality and justice, and a better world for my children and your children. But, how can a desire for all that good, thrive and produce in a heart that is taken up with so much darkness?
Which makes me the problem.
I can’t see your heart. I don’t know what’s going on in there, or what’s going on in the heart of GoneFishinPhil63 whose comments on news articles have made me think he’s the devil incarnate. Knowing is not my job and it’s not my business. All I can know is what’s happening in my own heart, and it’s not pretty, and it’s not getting me anywhere, and it sure as heck isn’t helping anybody else, so I’m going to start there. Because what I’ve been doing lately, IS NOT WORKING.
Last night, to add insult to injury, I realized I’ve been reading Martin Luther King, Jr. all wrong, all this time.
My husband, who cares deeply about social justice, and works tirelessly for it as a pastor in San Francisco, posted an MLK, Jr. quote he’s had to go back to again and again, when societal tensions seem to be rising. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Beautiful, right? I love it. But I’ve been doing it wrong. I’ve been reading it allllllll this time, and thinking, “Yeah, take that, idiots on the other side. I love love and you morons are screwing it up and securing your place on the wrong side of history. Me and Martin Luther King, Jr. are right again!” Nope, the great Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. seems to have been talking to me.
I’m not going to stop hating, by hating some more. The darkness I feel inside isn’t going to leave so I can make room for more darkness. Nothing will change with the set-up I have right now.
So after taking a good long look at my own heart, I’ve decided to remodel. I can’t do ANYTHING, until I’ve done that. It’s not going to be easy; it’s close to a total tear-down job, and I know I’ll need the Man Upstairs who’s a specialist in this kind of work. There will be dust and noise and I won’t know where anything is for a while. However, the new place will be light and airy, and there will be tons of space for accepting and entertaining friends and strangers, but by design, no spot to sit and read the comments section.
20 thoughts on “Hey humans, we’re overdue for a remodel. I’ll go first.”
You’ve got the best sermon on you hands for this coming Sunday. Your heart is filled with more light and love than anyone else I know. And thanks for shedding light on the darkness in all our hearts.
Wow, Gerald thank you so much…for reading and for your very kind, VERY generous note. You bring light to peoples’ lives every day, and we are all grateful for that.
You’re right about that. Remodeling is a great way to go. It’s such a difficult time in our world right now I hardly know where to turn or what to do. There seems to be no end to the violence & hatred.
It’s so true, Sandy. I really hope and pray we can all decide we’ve had enough and work together for progress. Thanks so much for reading and for your thoughtful note.
I think we can ALL recognize ourselves in what you describe about hating the haters. The desirable outcome that you wish for is, indeed, difficult to achieve. No doubt God is constantly looking at a re-design of his human creations. We can hope and work on it with Him. Life is hard and a good Christian life is even harder. Loving thy neighbor (all neighbors) is quite a challenge. Thanks for the spotlight on this.
Yes, it is a tall order indeed. I’ve decided to try praying for my own heart to change instead of other peoples’ all the time though. I need all the help I can get. Thanks so much for reading and for your thoughtful response.
Colleen, Thank you!!! Funny that I am writing this in the Comments Section of your article, after reading that last paragraph!! But I had to give you a proper LIKE/LOVE for another thought-provoking post! I love your heart, you AND your husband! Miss you friend….
Hahaha, true Bobbi! I had vowed not to read the comments of stuff, yet here I am. People have had such deep, thoughtful, challenging thoughts and I am very grateful. You are an amazing person with an equally amazing heart. Much love to you…thanks for reading, and YES, thanks for visiting the comments section!
You described the human condition so well. There is a lot of remodeling to be done for healing to occur. God help us all.
Thank you so much Toni! Yes, God help us all. Truly. thanks for reading and for taking the time to respond.
I think I need to post this on the mirror in my bathroom. I’m a political junky, which makes the love instead of hate a perilous journey.
Gosh, Connie, it’s so hard to look away isn’t it? We want to be informed, but it’s draining, and stokes the fire and the anger. It’s good to step away sometimes though… I found myself, knowing (what I thought) was a lot, and thinking a lot, but none of it was productive, and it was just dragging me down until I was of no use to anybody. It’s all hard stuff, but hopefully we can all work together and help each other out!
Colleen, thank you for this brilliant and eloquent commentary on the current environment. Let’s be controversial by loving instead of hating! Blessing to all of you.
Wow, Ruwani, I appreciate your note so much! And loving is so much for fun to do than hating! Blessings to you too! xoxo
Colleen, you nailed it. Thank you for the reminder. ox
Thank you so so much Pam…for reading and for your sweet note! xoxo
MLK Jr. was talking to me too. I usually can catch myself, but this election cycle has been hard. Thanks for the reminder.
It has been so hard!! Hang in there ! Thanks so much for reading and for your thoughtful note!
Convictions about justice are worth being impassioned about. But I don’t know any situations where the other side came further along by being angry with them, or telling them they were idiots, or insulting them in general. Have we ever paused to consider the human being inside those positions? Could the anti-gay man have been molested as a boy? Could the anti-immigration person had to sell their home and uproot because of changing demographics and new tensions in their neighborhood? Has someone experienced violent crime they cannot move past, and will always see a certain face with that pain? We never know who we are really talking to unless we really talk.
Another good observation of how many of us feel in this day of continuing unrest and violence. Keep on writing, Colleen, I am always excited when I see a Fulcrum Chronicle in my mail.