Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hate, without reason

Today’s Reading: John 15:24-25 (NIV)

24 [Jesus said,] “If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law, ‘They hated me without reason.’

Good morning!

I’ve decided it is much easier to hate than to love. Expressing my passion has never been a problem for me; I learned how to convey my likes and dislikes quite well, even as a young child. My mother tells me that I was not a picky eater, but I did not hesitate to share when I didn’t care for a particular food. I learned to spit my carrots and beets at her from the high chair, and I must have had pretty good aim since she lost several of her favorite shirts as flying vegetables permanently stained her clothing.

We often choose to hate the things we do not understand. Have you ever prejudged someone, not really knowing their particular circumstance? I was pretty good at this in school. I had my preferred teachers, and made up my mind after only one or two classes which instructors I might try to avoid. It may have had something to do with their physical presentation, how they dressed, what they said, or even their demeanor. Sometimes I allowed another student’s opinion to persuade me not to even give that teacher a chance to win my favor. I’m probably the only one who has ever done this, but have you ever formed a strong opinion based upon someone else’s opinion, rather than taking the time to gather all the facts and weigh it for yourself?

We do not know whether the teacher who comes to class in a wrinkled shirt, jacket and pants did not sleep in his automobile the night before because the bank just foreclosed on his home. We do not know whether the supervisor who constantly snaps at everyone around her today has not come from an extremely trying family situation. There are so many things that we do not know, and yet, we base our opinions and share our passions about others without having all the facts first. We choose to hate or to love. For some, there is no in-between, only black and white; no room for even a little bit of gray.

Maybe I’m not so different from the people who lived with Christ. Jesus said that even the miracles He offered through the Father were hated by the ones who did not understand. They refused to open their hearts to the truth, even when the truth stood right in front of them. These people chose to hate without reason, for it is far easier to hate something they could not understand.

Have you ever hated your neighbor? Jesus said, “For inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to me.” Father, forgive us for relying on misinformation and conjecture. Help us move beyond the passion of mere feelings and choose to really love each other, especially when it is not our first choice. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO



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