The story goes that as they were doing a time of prayer requests in the church, some lady that no one knew came walking into the church. This lady made it clear and in no uncertain terms that this minister was an abomination to God and she needs to stop living this way. The lady told everyone that God had told her to come across the country to tell her this.
My first thought is that this lady needed to engage her brain before she engaged her mouth. After all, if you're following voices in your head that involve hatred, I'm not sure that is God speaking to you. You might want to see your doctor and have your medication adjusted. Just sayin,,,
But more importantly, we as a civilization need to learn how to engage our brain first, then engage our mouth only as a last result. It means we need to look at the bigger picture in life and that our views and beliefs or opinions, may not be the only thing. Often when we get dogmatic in our opinions and beliefs, we are making up for our own insecurities.
The minister could have come back with some very angry comments or called the police to escort this lady out of the church. There are many things that she could have done and in all reality, no one would have probably thought anything bad of her, if she did respond in this way. However, what I find hopeful, is that she chose to respond differently than what most would have done.
Her response was to thank her for coming and asked her if she could give her a hug. When confronted by evil, hatred and bigotry, offering a hug is saying, I still love you in spite of the hatred you are offering me. The person that was supposedly an abomination was the one offering love, while the one speaking for God was offering hatred. How many of us can do that in our day?
It isn't easy to turn the other cheek or to show love when someone spits in your face. It isn't easy to be put down for being lesbian or gay or different, and return love instead. Hatred is an ugly blemish on our society and the only counter to it is offering love to that person. If you try to out hate them, no one will win. If you try to give them love, the hatred has no place to spread.
Yet, as I write this, I'm also reminded of the background I grew up in and how difficult it is sometimes to follow my heart, my dreams and who I have discovered I am as a human. When the politicians use the issue of being gay as a political football, it is like being sucker punched in the gut. It takes hatred deep to the core. I'm not going to say I'm perfect in dealing with this because I am not. It is very hard for me to get up and love someone after they have sucker punched me!
Let's go one step further though with this example. Where else can we shower hatred with love. It isn't just the gay issue as it shows up in many ways, every day in our society. We come up on people who fail to see what we see and unfortunately in our country, this has turned into a screaming match among participants. One group accuses the other group of being one way and the other group comes back with accusations that are opposite. Neither one listens and as a result, neither one grows and evolves as human beings. In the end, love fails to find a voice.
Learning to show love is not an easy thing to do. I'm not even sure I would say it is a place in life that you get to, rather it is a process of learning how to do this in the face of hatred and evil that overwhelms you. Hatred is easy for most people to do. It is a built-in emotion of the ego that surfaces at will with absolutely no invitation required. Without hatred, I'm not sure we would fully understand love in this world and without love, all we would know is hatred.
May we learn to see the likeness in each other, rather than where we differ. May we learn how to respect and share the experiences of life together, rather than focus on the things where our belief systems disagree. Most importantly, may we first begin to learn to love ourselves and as we do this, we share our love with others, even the ones that bring us hatred.
Blog Post And Images (c) 6/25/12 Don Shetterly - use and reprint by permission only http://www.donshetterly.com You are welcomed to share the link to this blog post, but ask for for permission before reprinting this article. Thanks!