The long, dark shadow

How has hate come to dominate this regrettable election season? It is the currency of the disenchanted, disillusioned masses who seek relief from their frustration. So they lash out at someone they see as representative of that which they both envy and despise, in this case, a political candidate. What drives, what justifies this rage? Let us ask ourselves what makes us willing to let ourselves descend into hate, when we know better.

The Bible is clear on the subject of hate. Luke admonishes us: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” In 1 John, we find:”Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.” Paul told the Ephesians: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

Disagreement is normal, particularly in an election campaign. But hate? Hate the person? Want her humiliated, want her dead? Seeking answers to this disease that is infecting our lives, I have turned to wiser heads than mine. They have provided me some comfort. Here is what some of them offer. Perhaps one or more will speak to you.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” — James Baldwin

“Animals don’t hate, and we’re supposed to be better than them.” — Elvis Presley

“I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.” — Booker T. Washington

“Hatred is like a long, dark shadow. Not even the person it falls upon knows where it comes from, in most cases. It is like a two-edged sword. When you cut the other person, you cut yourself. The more violently you hack at the other person, the more violently you hack at yourself. It can often be fatal. But it is not easy to dispose of. . . . It is very dangerous. Once it has taken root in your heart, hatred is the most difficult thing in the world to shake off.” — Haruki Murakami

“They will hate you if you are beautiful. They will hate you if you are successful. They will hate you if you are right. They will hate you if you are popular. They will hate you when you get attention. They will hate you when people in their life like you. They will hate you if you worship a different version of their God. They will hate you if you are spiritual. They will hate you if you have courage. They will hate you if you have an opinion. They will hate you when people support you. They will hate you when they see you happy. Heck, they will hate you while they post prayers and religious quotes on Pinterest and Facebook. They just hate. However, remember this: They hate you because you represent something they feel they don’t have. It really isn’t about you. It is about the hatred they have for themselves. So smile today because there is something you are doing right that has a lot of people thinking about you.” — Shannon Alder

Today’s word: awesome. This overworked word that has come to dominate our social vocabulary actually means causing fear or wonder. Think about this the next time you  misuse the word to describe a cool drink, a movie or a pair of shoes.

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