Baileys Adventures

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…-Proverbs 17:22

Something I’m Noticing October 2, 2010

Filed under: What's On My Mind — andreabaileys @ 12:14 am

Remember when you were a kid and your mama told you that if you didn’t have something nice to say to not say anything at all?  I know Mama told us that.  She also told us never, ever, ever to say we hate someone.  We could dislike them, and we could be annoyed by them.  But hate denoted a total absence of love and was unacceptable in our house.  To this day I’ve only heard her use this term in reference to a tiny number of people.  I’m honestly not sure I’ve ever used it myself.  The things our mamas tell us are deeply ingrained in us, and will guide the way we live our lives.

Or so I thought.  Lately I’m noticing a disturbing trend, and I’m sure you’re noticing it, too.  If you watch any sort of news or are aware of current affairs you should have been picking up on it.  But more than that, if you are listening when you are out in public you’ll see this trend glaring in the people around you.  I’m talking about hate.

Since when is it acceptable to openly hate someone just because they aren’t like you?  I am a liberal Christian woman who is straight, white, lower middle class, and was raised in a rural or small town area.  Does that mean I can only associate with like-minded or like-raised people?  Because that includes about three of my friends….maybe.  If I am a Christian, am I not allowed to have friends who are Jewish, Muslim, pagan, or atheists? I was raised Methodist but will be joining the Mennonite church at some point — one of my best friends is Catholic, my in-laws are all Baptists, and some folks I know are Mormons.  Does that mean I can’t associate with them?  Not everyone in my family is white; one cousin is dating an black girl and one cousin was adopted from Korea.  Am I supposed to think less of them because they have more melanin than me?  Because really, who doesn’t have more melanin than me?!

I’m completely disturbed by these ideas.  I was raised in a “non-diverse”, white Protestant background in the midst of families who have little to no experience with people who are culturally, racially, or ethnically different than them.  But my parents taught me never to hate.  Lately it seems that attacking someone based on their views or opinions and raking them over the coals in public because of their beliefs is acceptable.  I simply cannot wrap my mind around it; it is alien to me.

Recently Mama and I witnessed first-hand the deep hatred that someone we know  feels toward anyone who is not a white, conservative Christian.  I won’t go into detail, but trust me when I say this person was appalled to discover that I have friends who are gay, black, atheists, Muslims, pagans, or are different from me in any way.  The idea that at our wedding this person was in the very presence of all these people drove them a little deeper into their fear.  I’m sure our friend thinks I’m going straight to Hell because I don’t spend my days witnessing to them via ultra-conservative, pro-life, “forward this if you love Jesus” emails like some people.  I chose to see the fact that Jesus ate, slept, walked, talked, taught, lived, and loved with people who were drastically different from Himself.  He came for everyone, not just people who looked familiar or worshiped the same way.  I refuse to let my faith be used to preach hatred in my presence.

A few weeks ago I was at Brian’s store when a man fell to the floor with a seizure, quickly followed by a second one.  I pitched in to help with several other people there, and we were all concerned for his safety and health.  After the paramedics had taken him to the hospital and Brian was finishing up the witness statements for paperwork, someone called him to the side.  He informed Brian that he had seen the man “looking suspicious” all over the store.  He said some disparaging things and went on his self-righteous way.  The man who had the seizure was from Puerto Rico.  I can’t help but get the feeling that that witness firmly believes that our good, white God strikes down “mexicans” who look like shoplifters with seizures.  That has to be it, right?  Brian and I have talked about this at length.  He has said that every single day he has customers make racist comments to him, assuming that because he’s a white man he’ll agree.  There simply is no less racist man alive than my husband.  And as someone who will forever be judged because of where he’s from and the background with which he was raised, he is terribly disturbed by people assuming that he would do the same.  He’ll proudly tell you that he’s not a redneck, he’s a hillbilly….but he’s not an ignorant one.  He has friends of many races and faiths, and abhors hatred in any form.  Why do people assume that we white folks all think alike? That we Christians all think alike? You and your hate do not speak for me, and will never be my voice in any way.

The news this week of yet another suicide of a gay man harassed by his straight peers struck me to the core.  I have gay friends, bi friends, transsexual friends.  The prettiest woman I ever saw…is actually a man.  He’s pretty darn hot as a man, too.  The idea of any of my friends, whom I love deeply just because they draw breath and are humans, going through something like the abuse this young man endured (I’m sure I should say “allegedly”…whatever) and like many others have written about this week just cuts me to the core.  I have a relative who struggled with her sexuality for years.  While she has many problems still, once she accepted who she was and saw that we all still loved her, things got better for her.  I shudder to think what people have said or done toward her, my own flesh and blood.  But I hate that no more so than I hate that some of my dearest friends have had to fight to live openly as the people they were created to be, in the manner they find right.  The bullying and mockery of a group of people just because they are different is hateful.

When did it become acceptable to hate people to their faces?  To hate them secretly in your heart is bad enough, but that’s your own business.  What gives anyone the right to tell someone they are evil or hateful just because they don’t look like you, act like you, or believe like you?  Doing it is bad enough.  Doing it in the name of my God is unconscionable.  Assuming that I feel the same way or that my husband agrees with you will get you nowhere.  It’s high time that those of us with a little sense, a little tact, and a little humanity stand up and say enough.  We refuse to hate, we refuse to bully, and we refuse to isolate.  Only by being accepting and loving in the same way as Christ can we claim to be His followers.  And only by working for peace and unity can we expect the same to be given to us.

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9 Responses to “Something I’m Noticing”

  1. MadHat76 Says:

    As I recall from childhood, “hate” is a 4-letter word.

  2. A-dawg Says:

    Amen.

  3. let's ponder Says:

    Well if you read your bible as I read mine. There are things that God does not agree with. As a whole I think that we are becoming to OK with everything. The devil believes in God, as well as evil in the world. Does that mean he is good, no. The bible says, plain and clear, there is only one way to know God, that is through our Lord Jesus Christ. That is the ONLY way you will get to heaven. Which means if you live by His word than you won’t be a part of the behavior that you described. Are people mean, yes. Are the prejudice, yes. Are they Godly…no. You can’t be both. But I do believe you have to stand for what is right and you cannot ride the fence. A christians job on earth is go out and tell the gospel. No, we don’t have to push it onto people, but we are to let them know. If we pass up that chance, their blood is on our hands. You will have to stand in front of God and account for your life here on earth. Are you born again? Are you truly saved? Or is it something that you tell yourself to make it through the day? Conservative or liberal….the bible doesn’t care. The bible has one way. I can assure you that most people can turn it into whatever suits their lifestyle. Stand for what you want, but we are supposed to stand for God.

    • I have to admit that I nearly didn’t approve your comment. I think you will understand that I felt a little bit flamed on my own blog, and that you were bringing the hate that I was speaking against in along with you. After discussing my options with my husband, I decided to respond with my thoughts. There will be no further discussion unless it is civil, and comments will be heavily moderated.

      The following passage sums up concretely for me what the Lord would have me do:
      Luke 10
      25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
      26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
      27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’[h] and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”[i]
      28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

      If you know your Bible, which I assume you do, you know that the rest of this passage deals with the Good Samaritan helping someone with whom he “shouldn’t” have had contact. I cannot love my neighbor if I am busy hating him, or if I am constantly telling him that he is wrong and headed for Hell. Likewise, I cannot properly witness to someone the LOVE of Jesus and introduce His saving grace without first loving them where they are and for whom they are.
      Likewise, this passage is key to my feelings on this matter:

      1 John 4

      7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to bethe propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

      Again, you cannot love someone you are judging. We all know what the Bible says about judging. It is not up to me to decide who goes to Heaven – that is, of course, up to the Lord. I know what the Bible says as well as you do. I also know that not everyone does, and so I am to be living example of God’s love to his children. As are you.

      Thanks for your concern for my soul and for that of my regular readers. If you have read any of the rest of my blog, you’ll know that I have no doubts in that area. I hope my regular readers will jump in and offer their thoughts and opinions as well.

      Again, all discussion is to be civil, and will be moderated at the slightest hint of animosity or hatred. Hate and prejudice will not be tolerated on my blog, especially not in the name of my God.

  4. let's ponder Says:

    I am sorry that you took it that way. I wasn’t attacking you. As I read it, I am sure that is the way it sounds. What I am saying is in a general sense. Not to you personally. That is how I feel about what you wrote. There was no hate attached to my comment at all. I know that you have to “love thy neighbor.” In some instances, I believe that we are too loving. Does that make any sense? I guess we should have tough love towards these people. If we don’t strive to point them in the right direction….then what? We let them go to Hell because we loved them too much to say anything. Think of how one raises a child, you correct them out of love…right. Just as God convicts us, His children. Shouldn’t that love be extended to the ones we love? Tough love. God only gives one so many chances to come to Him. He will give up on you. There are people who are unworthy of His judgement.
    “Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedience to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:32 Who knowing the judgement of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do.

    I do not hate people and I try to set the best example that I can for those around me. Hate will turn people away quicker than anything. I know this personally. But I also know right from wrong. I do know what the bible says. I know that it isn’t up to me to personally judge people. I do think that God gives us the discernment to know who to witness to or to lead and guide in the right direction. I hope this makes sense. I am not prejudice, nor am I racist. I felt just as bad about the story in the news this past week about the young man who commited suicide. Things like this are uncalled for. It is sad that people can do such things. I hope that you don’t view this as an attack, it isn’t meant that way.

    • I definitely did take it as an attack. Thank you for clarifying. You make good points, but I still maintain that the words of Jesus: “Love thy neighbor as thyself” are to be my lamp.

      I understand the Scripture. And I thank you for clarifying your points. Without continuing this debate, these things struck me:
      1. I don’t love my neighbor because I *have* to; I *choose* to. Yes, God tells me to, but I do it willingly.

      2. I maintain that it is not possible to be “too loving”. Jesus loved us enough to die. And it wasn’t too much. At the end of the day one’s beliefs and actions are between them and the Lord, not ME, them, and the Lord.

      3. Please note also that my blog post did not focus only on hatred of people of different lifestyles, but also different races and cultures. You are choosing to focus on one aspect, and none of your arguments convince me that hating someone for any reason is right.

      Finally, this is not a “religious” blog and I will not have it hijacked. We can disagree civilly about the correct approach. And this discussion is over.

  5. let's ponder Says:

    You are right. We should love everyone because this is how we want to live. It is completely unacceptable to hate anyone or judge them. However, we can disapprove of their ways. Maybe thats where all this got started. A complete misinterpretation of things on my part. I read things wrong. Sorry for a debate that wasn’t needed in the first place. If we live the life that God has intended, then there is no need to debate anything. Our light will shine.

  6. Arinne Says:

    Thank you, Andrea. In light of the recent tragic loss of gay youths’ lives (at Rutgers, in MI, etc.) by suicide because of homophobia–both internalized and in society– I thank you for shining a light on this issue. And I *love* that you quoted Scripture in the process! 🙂


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