I hate the broadleaf dock growing as a weed in my yard and garden.
I hate doctrinal religious bullshit that supports priestly egos but obscures God.
I hate green peas.
I hate the Nazi foulness that has resurrected in America, that foulness which raises a middle finger to our fathers and grandfathers that fought and died to eradicate it from the earth.
It is easy (for me) to hate things, ideologies, words and actions that intentionally diminish, harm, or destroy others for purely personal gain. But now I find myself-daily- hating a man. I simply didn’t know it was possible for me to do that with the intensity I feel.
I can only begin to deal with that reality by confessing, in a paraphrase, the kind of confession I made about another personal failing in 1993. So, this:
I admit that I am powerless over this hatred- it is doing harm to my emotional and mental health.
I am unable to not hate a man who stands behind his bully pulpit in front of thousands of Boy Scouts and tells them about the orgies he’s had on his yacht. I am unable to not hate a man who hides behind lies when his country calls him to war then belittles others who courageously step forward. I am unable to not hate a man who cons money from those who believe his gold-foiled leaden promises, who cons his supporters of their decency by selling them his fears, and who lies daily, hourly in hyperbolic nonsense because he knows his supporters, his rally-goers, his cheerleaders have willingly suspended their disbelief in return for his calling them the “elite,” the “patriots,” the “special and set apart people” of his toy, his America. I am unable to not hate a man who wears Jesus like a puppet on his little hand because it will buy the loyalty of those who worship a god created in their own image.
So, in my powerlessness over my feelings, I begin here, in Paul’s letter to the Romans. He is explaining the transformed life he believes happens for those who accept the love of God as demonstrated by Christ. He knows there are tensions and dilemmas they will face in that transformation! He wrote to them, in C.12, verse 9:
“Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil, and hold on to what is good.”
I, therefore, cannot pretend to love this man or even, since he has proved himself of intentional or implied evil so often, holding onto much hope that he will repent in even minor ways. I know redemption is possible; I know transformation is real. I know that an unbridled ego can destroy a person. In hating evil, therefore, I cannot follow Jesus if I only follow him in turning over the tables of money-changers in the Temple. Jesus did much more than that!
If I don’t redeem my own hatred, in ways that are loving, or light-giving, or load-lifting, then this empty shell of a man will have been successful in misshaping my soul, too. I don’t want that to happen to me or anyone else.
Did you see the Jews around America today doing mitzvah- good deeds- in response to the synagogue shooting in California yesterday? Jesus the Jew always responded that way, too, to the opportunities he was given to hate others. He did it right up to the end- “Father, forgive them.”
Mitzvah. More good deeds, not in that man/boy’s name but in spite of him. That’s my response and (I’ll be honest) I already feel a little calmer than when I began this piece.
So thanks for listening.
I’m David; I’m glad to be here.