The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

April 15, 2014

Loving the hate away sounds simple, is anything but ...

ENID, Okla. — Love, it is said, makes the world go ’round.

But hate creates the potholes, bumps and ruts that jolt and jar us along the way.

Hate has been a powerful force in the existence of mankind since Cain slew Abel.

The world has been at war for thousands of years. More than half of those found buried in an ancient African cemetery, which archeologists say dates to 12,000 years ago, died as the result of violence.

Hate. It’s at the center of every war, no matter the geo-political reasons behind the conflict. Somebody hates the fact somebody else has more stuff, more land, more resources, than they do, so they go to war.

Often, somebody simply hates the fact somebody else is warming under the same sun and breathing the same air as they, so they declare war.

The American colonists hated the fact the King was trying to tell them how to live, so they went to war. The Confederacy hated the fact the federal government was trying to tell them they could no longer enslave their fellow human beings, so the Civil War began.

Murder is spawned by pure hate. You must hate somebody awfully badly to want to end their life. Either that or you are a complete sociopath.

Hate is at the root of divorce. When what once was love morphs into hate, it becomes all the more volatile.

Abuse is another spawn of hate. Inflicting pain on purpose on another human being is the very definition of hate.

Bullying? Of course. You have to hate someone to shun them, to demean them, to defame them, to belittle them.

Racism? Yep. Sexism? You bet. Ageism, nihilism, anti-Semitism? All those isms have their roots sunk deep into the fertile, festering soil of hate.

Any attitude or activity that involves one person deliberately trying to hurt someone else, either physically, socially, economically or emotionally, is fueled by hate.

April, it seems, is the month of hate. This past Sunday an avowed white supremacist shot and killed three people, two at a Jewish community center and the third at a Jewish retirement home. The irony of the fact all three victims were Christian doesn’t lessen the fact hate was at the root of these killings, one of which involved a physician who graduated from Phillips University, and his young grandson.

On Tuesday, a commemoration was held for the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Three people died that day, and 260 were injured, many losing limbs, all because of hate.

Today is the seventh anniversary of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech, a rampage that left 33 dead. Hate’s bloody fingerprints were all over that incident.

On Saturday, our state will mark the 19th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, in which 168 people died and more than 680 were injured. Hate ran amok that sad spring day.

Two years earlier on the same day of the month, 76 people died in the final act of the siege on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, another hate-fueled tragedy.

Saturday marks the 15th anniversary of the day a high school in a Denver suburb, a place called Columbine, became a killing ground, the massacre leaving 15 people dead. Hate and madness go hand in hand.

Why is hate’s grip on the world so strong? Why does hate garner so much attention, and love comparatively little.

Why does it seem so much easier to hate than to love?

Hate sent a man to his death over 2,000 years ago, in league with its minions — fear, jealousy and blind ambition.

He could have hated them right back, those men who condemned him to die in such a publicly humiliating and brutally painful fashion.

He could have rained down death and destruction on them all, could have laid waste to their land and wiped them from the face of the Earth.

But he didn’t. He loved them. He forgave them, for God’s sake. And that’s what He calls his followers to do, no matter the circumstances, no matter the pain, no matter the senselessness of the violence hate inflicts upon us. That is why it is so much easier to hate than to love. It is a lot of work to love someone who hasn’t done a darn thing to deserve it.

But whose place is it to decide who deserves our love and who doesn’t? Not ours, clearly.

A far wiser person than I once said, “I have found the paradox that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” Mother Teresa’s words convict us to meet hate with love, as painful as that can be.

Love until it hurts or hate until it feels good, it’s your choice. These days there seems to be no middle ground.

Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at jmullin@enidnews.com.

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