O.K. If I am to be honest, I must confess! Sometimes I don’t feel like loving my neighbor. Let’s call this my “not-love” state. Yesterday, when asked to submit a blog for this site, I was in my “not-love” state. The particular occasion that precipitated my “not-love” state was the very familiar routine of a White Christian institution doing a wrong that affected my family and then trying to cover it up with several small lies. This, unfortunately, is status quo activity for the people on the other side of the systemic power structure. But, what can I say—it is part of the systemic evil in the world. I’ll get over it. When I’m feeling this way it is difficult to explain but I thought for the sake of the Big Tent concept (God’s idea) I would try.
I know as a human being my “not-love” stance is indefensible, still, I don’t think my “not-love” is the worst kind. I say that because when I think about it-it seems my “not-love” always occurs when people of the dominant culture perpetuate another injustice against me or someone else I know, or even someone I don’t know. When I really work through my “not-love” I always find that I am full of all kinds of emotions. When I examine these emotions it actually revels the true nature of my feelings, which is really a kind of hatred. My “not-love” is actually hatred. (Wow! He used the “H” word). Yep, I have been known to be a hater. You may be asking by now, “What could be worse than hatred?” My answer, “Indifference.”
Why, would I consider indifference worse than hatred? I’ll try to explain. Hatred is rooted in a wrong done. For me hatred is always about injustice. Maybe a better way of saying hatred is actually “hurtred.” Hatred is really systemic hurt. When wrongs occur like the one yesterday, I hate what is being done. I hate the system perpetuating it. Maybe, at least for a little while, I even hate the person who is cooperating with evil. But then in the middle of my hatred I hear the Spirit say stuff like, “don’t be a hater,” “God is love,” “Do you know how much I (Jesus) love you?” Alright, then I have to work through my feelings and expose them for what they really are-just plain hurt.
My hurt reveals that I have an expectation of something more. My hurt shows that I want a relationship beyond the current circumstances. My hurt also exposes the fact that I am willing to give myself to the remedy. When you hurt me—you expose my vulnerability and my humanity. And I think being human is a good thing. I think indifference, on the other hand, is pure evil.
Indifference unveils the truth that you don’t care about me. Indifference shows me that you wish I would just go away. Indifference means that you don’t consider me a human being in the same way you consider yourself to be human. Indifference is totally rooted in our own concerns about ourselves. Indifference is about me and mine, or even about preserving the system that serves me, or my own kind best, without as much concern for others. Indifference is always the most comfortable option.
Injustices will always occur among human beings but injustice can happen because of hatred or it can happen because of indifference. I think I’m much better off by responding than not caring. I’d much rather face your honest hatred than your self-serving indifference.
So when we come together under the Big Tent, I don’t mind if occasionally you hate me for a while (warning: prolonged hatred can lead to indifference). From our hatred, we still have something to talk about. Honest hatred can even uncover the fact that we really love each other. But please, don’t ignore me. Don’t be indifferent. If you’ve read this far, we’ve already have made a good start. Thanks!
“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” – Jesus