Who doesn’t want to know that we notice them and value them? And who might respond to us better when they feel that they matter? It probably cannot be overstated – it matters…that people matter. ~Steve Goodier~
This past Saturday was a day that mattered for other people. People that I didn’t know. It was a day when a small church community came together to show how love is given freely to others, no matter their life’s circumstances, their outward appearance, or their behavior.
If you are suddenly in a cold sweat, ready to run because I typed the word church, relax and read on.
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 hate the word hate. It has a negative connotation that wrinkles my forehead. I would rather use “dislike,” although I must admit that I do hate liver and the cheeses of goat, bleu and gorgonzola. Blech. When it comes to the human being, however, I refrain from using the “H” word. I cannot bring myself to utter the word, even when I bring up the ex-husband or someone in the news who has committed a heinous crime. It’s not in my nature and I’m not fond of how hating a human being makes me feel.
In The Blog’s article, Toxic Emotions can Lead to Serious Health Problems, Dr. Cynthia Thaik talks about the effects of anger and hate on the human body.
Anger and hatred are natural, but they are also some of the most toxic emotions that we can have. Feelings of rage and hatred build up in the mind, body and soul, affecting the body’s organs and natural processes and breeding even more negative emotions. Prolonged bouts of anger can take the toll on the body in the form of high blood pressure, stress, anxiety, headaches and poor circulation.
I “hate” feeling anger or loathing about another human being. In my opinion, there is no purpose in it unless you really enjoy the toll it takes on self. Hating brings about terrible ills in society – physical abuse, emotional abuse, racism, discrimination, murder and war. Why one human chooses to hate another, rather than love them, is often incomprehensible to me. Perhaps I’m a softie and one of those “bleeding hearts” that the ex-husband used to label while he angrily rambled on about someone who did him wrong 30 years ago. He was, and still is, a bundle of anger and hate.
Hate carries beyond our own angry soul. When we hate, we spread hate to our children, family, friends and neighbors – continuing the negative cycle to those who listen – and creating victims of the innocent and those who understand love. Consider the people in this video from the University of Leicester, UK, and how hate and non-acceptance affects their lives.
I spent Saturday morning shopping for a family of three – mom, dad and their 11 year-old daughter. The family has no home of their own, living with a woman who has shown generosity despite her own poor living conditions. It became known to our team of two that dad had been thrown in jail that morning, the circumstances unknown. It would have been easy for us to feel hate or contempt toward this man after having purchased items from his list with the community’s donations.We could have easily taken the “how dare he?” path and left him with nothing at Christmas.
But that’s not how it works.
Within my church community, I see an outpouring of love toward all humans. I see non-judgmental giving, even when dad is in jail or mom can’t conjure up a “thank you” when gifts are delivered to her doorstep. As Christians, our community embraces scripture from Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
If you’re sweating again, so sorry. I’m almost done.
The point here is in bold above. Love your neighbor. Or neighbour if you live in Australia. Nachbar if the couple across the street live in Germany. Vecino in Spain. 隣人 in Japan. Love your neighbor in any land, under any circumstance. How would the world change if people stopped using the word hate toward their neighbors and other human beings? Would it make a difference? Would it bring about a wave of change?
Obviously, there is hatred around the world that may never go away or will take many years to disintegrate. The terrorist organizations and its people that hate and commit atrocities, like the Taliban in Peshawar, swim in the darkness. Excluding the word “hate” from their vocabulary will not help them. It will not save the rest of us. Unfortunately, they only know hatred and murder and they pass it on to their children. I do not know the resolution…how to bring these people to love all humans rather than make plans to murder.
Perhaps it’s a matter of starting with self – making the effort to hate liver or Monday mornings, but love the guy down the street who lets his dog poop in your yard; or the micromanaging boss; or the store manager who won’t give you a credit for the hot pink leggings that Aunt Susie bought you for Christmas. It’s my opinion that the more one loves, the less one feels a need to hate. The more one opens their hearts to people of all countries, ethnicity, and situation in life, the more that one understands that we are all one people – messy, imperfect people.
In this holiday season, whether or not Jesus is the reason you celebrate the holidays, find it in your heart to love. Love others.
Show the human race that they matter.