This guest post was written by Mandy at Sunny Insomniac. You can read her blog here.
I’ve thought about you a lot over the years. You’ve taken the sad and all-too-often form of a friend. A family member. Even a spiritual leader. Maybe you thought I might feel the same way as you. Maybe you assumed I was even one of you. Whatever your presumption, I wish I had the courage to tell you out right how much I disagree with you. But, sadly, in most cases I have not yet found that courage. I hope to one day consistently stand up to you in the way I know I should. But it’s hard. I’m a coward. And you scare me. You don’t listen to reason and you don’t have a soft heart.
But don’t think you’re a straight shot, aiming only at the heart of the issue you obsess over. You’re more like a rifle shooting buckshot. You’re uncontrollable—unpredictable. You never know who you’ll hit because…
One doesn’t have to be the target to be hurt by hatred.
A child stuck between two warring parents.
A wife warped by her husband’s misguided, vocalized biases.
A man who feels he must take the same hurtful form of his father in some twisted shape of obedience.
Hatred is catching. Proximity and time and willingness are all it takes. Whether it’s a willingness to conform to those around you, a willingness to harp on another to achieve some cheap form of self-flattery, or even a willingness to avoid that which you’ve always fought against inside your own self.
Whatever the reason, let me tell you—
IT IS NOT WORTH IT.
Let’s, for a moment, do some soul searching.
Has your view ever added anything positive to your life? Has your vocalized or internal attitude ever brought you a sense of peace? Oh, what was that? It’s brought you a sense of importance? A feeling of unity? Even power? Okay, I can accept that you are an important, unified, and powerful viewpoint. You have made yourself important by demeaning others. You have made yourself unified on the ridiculed, humiliated, even tortured and murdered souls of human beings.
I’m not saying you are all like that. Not at all. You can take many subtle forms. A glance of disdain, a side-handed muttering, a roll of the eye, a vicious word of gossip. But know this, you have made yourself powerful by striking fear and hatred in to others, whether you did it knowingly or not.
But I don’t hate you. Far from it! My heart bleeds for you—especially when you’re someone close to me.
You have no idea what you’re doing to yourself, your family, your friends, even your colleagues at church, at work, at the gym. You’re spreading harm around like a disease, and it’s a sad legacy to leave behind.
But by all means, believe what you believe, stand by it, but don’t look down on others for not sharing the same conviction. You are not better than them. You are not their spiritual judge. And most importantly,
YOU ARE NOT THEM.
I’m sure you have plenty of your own issues to deal with, as do all we humans. But, unfortunately, you may be too focused on others to pay attention to your own choices.
Of course, the same could be said about me in this moment. But know I’m not trying to fix you. I don’t believe it’s possible for me to do that. Only God can fix hearts. Only God can replace hatred with love.
I’m really writing this letter to the ones you’ve hurt. I want them to know that there is love and respect out there for them—even in the most unexpected of places.
But I’m praying your heart is softened, you gain compassion, and are no longer the blind leading the blind. That you are no longer,
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