A good friend recently sent me a message, a message that clearly revealed a heart thatwas breaking over the horrid things he sees us humans doing to each other, and especially the dishonesty and murderous cruelties that result from the alliances between corporate America and the US government. This good friend was so hurt by what he knows of such things he could not but use the word "hate" in describing how he was feeling. Below is my written response tohis disturbing message. I, myself, have painful lessons to learn in order to be rid of hypocrisy, for it seems my knowledge too often out-weighs my kindness. So, if you detect some coldness in my response, some shallowness, please know that your senses are to be trusted. It is at my friend's urgings that I am submitting this piece to OEN. May some thread of genuine love and relevance be found herein:
You pointed-out that it's "easier to live by love than it is to live by hate". I agree. No doubt many Tea Partiers call themselves Christian. No doubt many soldiers who are now implementing corporate-America's bloody methods call themselves Christian. It's as if Jesus has no say in what is Divinely approved when it comes to the methodologies by which Christians are to influence the enemies of humane living. Have these Christians, along with previous generations of Christians, decided that they need not look at what Jesus is recorded to have taught? You and I both know enough of the Bible to know Jesus taught things like: don't love only those who are good to you, but also love those who are not good to you, do good to those who would do you harm, love your enemies, overcome evil with good, do not fear those who would kill your body, if your enemy is thirsty give him a drink, etc. He went to a painful death embodying his own teachings. Even though he anticipated such a death he said, "My yoke it's easy, my burden is light." I'm pretty sure what he was saying here is similar to what you're saying, i.e., it's easier to live one's life in a spirit of goodwill towards everyone than it is to live your life in a spirit of hatred.
It seems to me that in order to manifest attitudes and behaviors of goodwill (love) a person must first put to rest his own insecurity; for it is his own insecurity from which his hatred stems. Once a person has reasoned with his own insecurity and its costs, he can then choose the easier path. This is not to say he will choose the easier path, but at least he now has the choice, a choice he did not have so long as he assumed his insecurity was grounded in solid, tangible reality rather than merely a part of his unexamined, childhood-induce trance. Attending to and fortifying one's insecurity demands constant attention and energy. What better symbolic example of the high cost of insecurity, in terms of money, energy and hours of work, than the USA's defense system? And what better literal example of the price people willingly pay in their failing efforts to quiet their insecurity than when Americans accept that it's necessary to spend a trillion dollars each year on military readiness --- else we will all be over-run by the enemy --- and when they leave or send family and friends to go kill and die in another country? Just think of the price that's been paid in terms of incomprehensible suffering, grief, and sorrow in a effort to appease personal insecurity through war. I keep referring to insecurity because it seems to me hatred, as with greed, stems from insecurity. Hatred is just one of the many manifestations of insecurity.
I might know exactly what you mean when you say you hate this and that about the country we live in. You clearly defined what you mean. I share your disdain for the horrid deeds done to people near and far as a result of the U.S. government bowing to corporate wishes to eventually gain fortunes from other country's resources; never mind the innocent blood that gets shed. I share your disdain for the unexamined materialism, fear-based nationalism, and hypocrisy that prevails here. I have long been ashamed of the USA because of what the white people did to the people andthe buffalo who they found already living here. I've been ashamed of what the USA has long been doing in Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America, etc. The standard of living that so many Americans enjoy and expect has been built on and sustained largely by cruelties and hardships inflicted upon others near and far. This is far beyond shameful. Mere shameful is the fact that the material wealth of this country is seen by many as evidence of God's favor and blessing. ....never mind that Jesus said the Divine spirit would have us live modesty. He stated it clearly when he said,"Be content with food and shelter". Christians remember Gandhi saying and doing as much, but they're blind to the fact that Jesus also said it and did it. Thinking the material wealth of the USA is evidence of God's favor is like walking into almost any large cathedral in Spain or Italy, cathedrals which are adorned with huge fortunes of gold, marveling at how God must surely favor this religion, all the while ignoring the fact that the very gold one is looking at was stolen from far away people whose wives and daughters were being raped as their brothers', husbands', and fathers' blood drained from their bodies while threatened servants labored to get the gold down to the sea and aboard waiting ships. What more difficult and grievous way could there be to pay craftsmen to construct and fancy-up monstrous church buildings? What morehorrid deedsneed wereview in order to see that the church fathers derived their values from a source other than Jesus?
By this point in this reading many Christians would be justifying their nationalistic, war-bent attitudes. They would be licking their chops as they quickly shuffle through their Bibles looking for the scripture which they think will soundly discredit what's being said here. They're searching for the passages where Jesus is quoted as having said, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes, and even his own soul, he cannot be my disciple." I confess that I am under no obligation to assume every Biblical statement attributed to Jesus was actually made by him. Statements which clearly contradict his basic themes are best set aside. But perhaps Jesus was not contradicting himself, here. Perhaps Jesus was merely pointing-out that a person will know --- by clear evidence ---when they are truly linked to the spirit which produces freedom from guilt and insecurity, and which manifests durable attitudes and behaviors of happiness and goodwill, the spirit of which he often spoke. A person will know that he is truly linked to the spirit of love when he sees that even the most sincere efforts to distance him from that spirit --- even efforts put forth by one's dearest relatives --- will be disdained, that all efforts to disassociate him from the spirit of love will fall short. The thought of returning to the insecurities and shallow, materialistic values and ill-conceived doctrines of others --- even of one's dearest relatives ---whose lives are yet congested with fear, guilt, and self-loathing, will have become unattractive, not much tempting,once a person has truly taken up the path of peace and goodwill, the path that Jesus walked on and often spoke of, the path that he stayed on even under threat of a painful death.
Indeed, love is easier than hate. You and I do not know what the future holds, but it seems wise to live each day, each hour, and each minute resonating with the spirit of love, peace, and happiness. You and I know that it seems wise to assume that ultimately there is nothing to fear, "nothing to kill or die for", nothing that can be had that's worth the work and discord we'd personally experience were we to step back onto the treadmill that's energized by the pollutants called fear and insecurity. It takes no less faith and effort to sustain the trance that says the universe is ultimately a Godless and dangerous place than it does to awaken from the trance and behave as if the universe is a Divinely appointed stage...a place where attitudes and behaviors of goodwill resonate beyond our finest wishes.