Tag Archives: Hatred

Divided We’ll Fall

It dawned on me
late last night
before the dawn
there’s only moonlight

The days may be longer
but in darkness they stand
as hatred and murder
shroud our fair land

Together we’d stand
but divided we’ll fall
without our God
one and all

______________________________

Quadrille Monday has dawned at dVerse Poets Pub and Bjorn has given us the word “dawn” to incorporate into our 44-word poems. I won’t have time to read any Quadrille’s today, but you should head over and read what others have to write about the dawn and to read one of my favorite Robert Frost poems that Bjorn has quoted. I’ll catch up with you tomorrow.

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Light Shines in the Shadows

Lurking in the shadows
of my mind, of my heart

Anger, hatred, fear, doubt
dwell where they think
they escape the light

I dare not enter
the shadows alone

With Light in hand
I reveal that which hides
in the shadows
of my soul

________________________

It’s Quadrille Monday at dVerse Poets Pub once again and De has assigned us the word “shadow” for our 44-word tomes. Head on over and see what others have to say about their shadow or shadows.

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The Red Horse and His Rider

When the Lamb opens the second seal
The red horse and his rider will go out
With power to take the peace of this world
That the end is then nigh there is no doubt

But will the rider find any peace on this earth
Where mothers kill their children and nations war
Despite our songs of peace in a post-hippie culture
We daily venture closer to hatred’s door

They say “let’s coexist” though we are in disagreement
Even so the so-called peaceful want their peace by force
Requiring agreement with them on fundamental issues
Never realizing the need for repentance and remorse

Peace without God is what mankind desires
But such a thing is only temporary
Though we must live in peace as far as we are able
Of mere men promising salvation we must be wary

Amidst the strife and turmoil of this life
The only true peace is that which Jesus gave
The rider on his fiery red horse is surely coming
But can’t take peace from those the Lamb died to save

__________________________

The Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub this week is brought to us by Bjorn. He’s calling for us to write about peace in a way that is not trite and doesn’t rely on platitudes. The night before reading the prompt, I spent the evening teaching Revelation 6 to fourth graders, so my mind immediately went to the image of the second horseman of the apocalypse. I didn’t have time to write yesterday because I wanted to read the haibuns from Monday first, but as it turned out this one needed overnight to percolate anyway.

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Kind Words and Iron Doors

It’s Day 29 of NaPoWriMo. I have mixed feelings about the month of celebrating poetry coming to an end. On the one hand, it’s good to have the motivation to write every day. On the other hand, some days it’s nice to not feel compelled to write. Today I’m hanging onto the one hand, and I’m completing a poem that was inspired by a Facebook post I saw yesterday. It’s off-prompt, but that’s okay.

Kind Words and Iron Doors

A Turkish proverb says
Kind words will unlock
an iron door

Often this is true
and so we ought
to speak kind words
always willing to open
an iron door and let peace in

But some doors
iron or otherwise
are sealed from the inside
by bitterness and hatred
so strong even the kindest words
won’t make them budge

These doors to the heart
can only be opened
by forgiveness from within
by the occupant’s choice
to step outside
into a world of grace and peace

5/21/15: Shared for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night.

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Forgiveness Set Me Free to Love – A Poem

Each year WordPress provides me with an annual report of my blogging activity for the past year. Included in the top five posts of 2012 was an article titled Forgiveness that I wrote for my church newsletter and was the second thing I posted when I started this blog in September 2009. I realized that the subject of forgiveness is timeless and so I decided to write more posts on that topic in 2013. I am starting with this poem about how forgiveness leads to freedom from despair.

Forgiveness Set Me Free to Love

Anger tethered me to the past
holding on strong, holding me back
imprisoned in a dungeon of my own making

Deceived into believing
the walls had been built by another
solid walls I could not escape

Blame fostered thoughts of revenge
of justice for the transgressor
as the Accuser spurred me on

The future seemed a blur
of decades in darkness and woe
with no hope of joy or love

Then through tiny cracks
in the walls of my misery
a light shone, beckoning me escape

The light whispered in the darkness
Forgive and let go
Leave justice to Me

It seemed too simple
and yet to forgive was impossible
without the light to show the way

I could bear the darkness no more
the anger had made me weary
the hatred was draining all life

Trusting the light
I chose to forgive, even the unforgivable
I clung to love instead of hatred

Like the walls of Jericho
the prison of my despair
crumbled and fell at His word

Forgiveness set me free
to live and to love in peace
with hope for my future in view

As this poem began to form in my mind, I thought of the families of the 20 children who were killed in Newtown, Connecticut. These children are now in heaven with Jesus and have no need of lessons on forgiveness. But the families left behind to mourn their loss will need to learn to forgive the troubled young man who perpetrated the evil that took their children away from them.

The natural reaction will be anger and hatred, but unless those feelings give way to forgiveness these families will be trapped in a dungeon of despair. They will need the light and love of God to free them. My prayer for them is that they will be able to trust the Light of Christ to tear down the walls of anger and to ensure true justice prevails.

6/28/14 Update: Shared for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub.

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Overcoming – A Poem

Synonyms are words that have the same or similar meaning as another word. Antonyms are words that are opposite in meaning to other words. I am thankful for antonyms because they are proof that in spite of all the evil in the world there is hope that good ultimately prevails. So I decided to write a poem about some of my favorite antonyms.

Overcoming

Apathy
overcome by
passion and sympathy

Envy
consumed by
good will

Greed
swallowed up by
generosity

Selfishness
negated by
altruism

Pride
cured by
humility

Violence
remedied by
peace

Confusion
cleared away by
truth

Anger
healed by
forgiveness

Hatred
overwhelmed by
love

Fear
alleviated by
faith

Death
defeated by
eternal life

Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV).

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A Crazy World, a Crazy Idea

This morning as a drove into the parking lot at work the song “Crazy Enough” by MercyMe was playing in my car, and the flags in front of our building were still flying at half mast because of the Saturday shooting in Arizona. Since I don’t believe in coincidences, I started thinking about what kind of post this could inspire.

It seems this world has gone a little crazy. A man shoots a congresswoman and many in the crowd around her, killing six people including a 9-year-old girl. And that’s just one day’s news. The story made the news because it involved a public figure and occurred in a crowd. But people are killed, children are abused, spouses are battered, and worse every day without generating headlines.

I was surprised by some of the reactions to the Arizona shooting. One of my Facebook friends posted a link to the article, and one of her friends commented, “The chickens of this FOX, Tea Party lunacy are starting to come home to roost.” Really? I wondered whether this person saw the irony of their own contempt for those with political or ideological beliefs different from their own that are contained within that statement. What is the point of blaming the outrageous crime of one clearly disturbed individual on a group of people with different beliefs, without even knowing if he belonged to that group? But that seems to be the state of our world today; on all sides of the many political, ideological, and religious fences that divide us there is contempt and hatred. The world seems to have gone crazy.

Or maybe it has not yet gone crazy enough? Maybe we should take a cue from MercyMe, and one by one try this insane approach:

Call me crazy but what if we learn
To love our brother for nothing in return?
Oh how the rules would change

Reaching out to the ones who need help
Treating them as you first would treat yourself
Now that would be insane

[CHORUS]
It may just be crazy enough
To work if we could only love
What if we somehow changed the world?
It may just be crazy enough

It is a crazy idea, but it’s not new. Loving others, even those who think differently than we do, was taught by Christ in His sermon on the mount. After all the beatitudes and teachings about the law, adultery, divorce, and anger, Jesus said:

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.  But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48.

If you are a liberal Democrat and you are kind only to other liberal Democrats, what good does that do for the world? If you are a conservative Republican and you are kind only to other conservative Republicans, how are you helping make the world a better place? If you are a Christian, but you speak ill of atheists, Muslims, Hindus, and even Christians in other denominations, and do not love them as God does, what good are you doing for the Kingdom of God?

I can’t change how other people act, what they say, or how they treat those who are different from them. But I can try to implement a crazy idea and show love and kindness to others regardless of whether I agree with them. I can endeavor to “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20. I can pray and ask God to help me share His love with the world, even those in the world who seem so unloveable.

Call me crazy, but if enough people were determined to implement this crazy plan, maybe we could change the world. If not the world, maybe the life of at least one other person who is reeling from the tragedy and hatred all around them. Will you be crazy with me? If you will, then that’s at least two other people we can impact together.

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A Love So Divine

This past weekend I started reading Tortured for Christ by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand. It is the true story of his imprisonment and torture in Communist Romania for preaching the Gospel. I had intended to read the whole book and then write a book review. But something I read last night struck me so profoundly that I was compelled to share what he wrote and my thoughts on it.

Wurmbrand talks of love divine that cares for the souls of all mankind. It can only be attributed to the love of Christ dwelling within the heart of a believer. I can relate to this first passage, though the pain he describes did not come upon me when I first believed, but has been developed within me by the Holy Spirit over time.

In the first days after my conversion, I felt that I would not be able to live any longer. Walking on the street, I felt a physical pain for every man and woman who passed by. It was like a knife in my heart, so burning was the question of whether or not he or she was saved. If a member of the congregation sinned, I would weep for hours. The longing for the salvation of all souls has remained in my heart and the Communists are not excluded from it. Tortured for Christ, pg. 56.

For me it is not always a case of wondering whether or not others are saved. Often I know by their own words that they have rejected Christ. In many instances, it is family or friends, and the pain is all the greater. This passage was encouraging to me because Wurmbrand put into words what I feel in my heart, and it was a blessing to know I am not alone. It also reminds me that I cannot pick and choose whose salvation I should care about for it is all of mankind that God wants to redeem at the cross.

But in this passage Wurmbrand speaks only of the stranger passing in the street and a general love for mankind. On the very next page, he speaks of a love so divine is defies all human logic. He speaks of the love not of one’s family and friends, but of one’s enemies. He writes:

A minister who was horribly beaten was thrown into my cell. He was half dead, with blood streaming from his face and body. We washed him. Some prisoners cursed the Communists. Groaning, he said, “Please, don’t curse them! Keep silent! I wish to pray for them.” Tortured for Christ, pg. 57.

It was in prison that we found the hope of salvation for the Communists. It was there that we developed a sense of responsibility for them. It was in being tortured by them that we learned to love them. Tortured for Christ, pg. 58.

How does one love those who have beaten, starved, and tortured them, those who have deprived them of their physical freedom? Wurmbrand spent a total of 14 years in prison, his only crime preaching the love of Christ. As I read his description of the atrocities he suffered it is unfathomable that a human being could endure such hardship only to turn around and show love to those who caused it. It can only be attributed to the love of Christ dwelling in his heart.

As I read his account, I am convicted of the paucity of my own love for not only my enemies, but my friends and family as well. Given my regular reaction to those who have slighted me in some small way, would I respond to torture and hatred the way Wurmbrand did and other persecuted Christians do even today? Wurmbrand refered to 2 Corinthians 4:17, saying that the troubles he endured were “light and momentary” compared to the eternal glory he would experience in Heaven. I’ve used that same verse as encouragement, struggling with the concept that my own troubles are truly “light and momentary.” By comparison to what Wurmbrand and other persecuted Christians endure, my troubles are nothing. Yet I find it difficult to feel or show love towards those who cause them.

This morning I received an email that illustrated the divine love that comes from Christ. I am in charge of prayer requests at my church and the email I received was a prayer request for a young woman who had been hit by a drunk driver. She is in critical condition with serious brain injury and the doctors don’t know if she will regain speech or sight after the surgery they must perform. This first part of the prayer request is pretty normal; we often ask for prayer for our loved ones. It was the next sentence that struck me as being a wonderful example of divine love. “Please also pray for the young man that hit her.  Not sure what his issues are that he was drunk at 5 pm.  He and his buddy are fine, but need prayer about his/their life choices.”

Wurmbrand, no doubt, would not only pray for this young drunk driver, but would track him down and share with him the Gospel of Christ. Perhaps that is the response we should have as well. But I think even the thought to pray for one who has caused a loved one such pain and injury is evidence of the love of Christ in the heart of the person who sent me this prayer request. It is the type of love we should all aspire to.

In His sermon on the mount, Jesus said:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48.

Richard Wurmbrand has done just as Jesus commanded here. We have the power to do the same if we rely on the Holy Spirit. It is only when we allow the love of Christ to dwell richly in our hearts that we can so. It is when we see all of humanity, including our enemies, as God sees them that we will be filled with the desire that they know His love. And that desire will override our natural tendency toward hatred and revenge. In the end, it is a love so divine that it defies all human logic that has saved the human race from itself.

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Anger Does Not Bring Righteousness

Recently I have been frustrated and upset by statements on blogs and in the media, as well as comments in both places, that show a hatred of Christians and Christianity. Some of this comes from ignorance about what Christians truly believe or how Christ has called us to live in the world. We are called stupid and intolerant, even hate mongers. Our beliefs are ridiculed as myth or worse, and it is suggested that no one with half a brain could actually be a Christian and believe that the Bible is really the Word of God.

My first instinct is to respond with my own comments about how wrong those who attack Christianity are. I feel angry, but I know bitterness and an angry response would not be pleasing to God. So I slow down and seek the counsel of wise Christians who remind me that what I am called to do is love even those who hate me and are my enemies.

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28.

Then I pray and ask God for wisdom. He reminds me that He warned us this would happen:

[Jesus said,] “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. John 15:18-21.

I am also reminded that being hated because I cling to Him is not a bad thing in the long run. In His famous beatitudes, Jesus said:

Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets. Luke 6:22-23.

Sometimes the lessons I must learn are difficult and challenging to my heart and soul. My sinful nature tries to take over and wants to pay back what has been dished out to me. My pride swells up and I become indignant over the accusation that I am not intelligent because I believe in God. I did, after all, graduate from law school cum laude. I went to a very prestigious college and graduated in the top 11% of my class. I am an excellent writer, and my logic and reasoning skills are superb. How dare someone suggest that I am stupid because of what I believe about the origin of the universe and who Jesus is! They are the stupid ones and I could prove them . . .

But that is not the Godly way. As James pointed out, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20. This verse is actually my screen saver on my computer at work, and for good reason because I need to be reminded of it regularly. What I need to remember, too, is that those who attack Christians are lost. They don’t know God, but God knows them and wants to have a relationship with them. “The Lord . . . is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. My own pride and indignation will not further His goal. Only love can accomplish it.

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Love Trumps Hatred

I don’t really understand hatred. I have felt it in my heart at times to a degree, but it is never a pleasant feeling. I don’t understand people who make hatred of others a habit or adopt it as a philosophy of life.

Misanthropy is a particular brand of hatred that makes absolutely no sense to me. It is the hatred of humankind. How can a person hate humankind in general? Doesn’t that mean you would hate yourself, since you are a member of the species you hate? There is no logic in that philosophy and no useful purpose as far as I can see.

You might be wondering how I came to this topic. Well, today in the office we were talking about strange relatives, and I immediately thought of a cousin of mine who is an admitted misanthrope. He writes articles and music about hatred and spends time with those who hate. When I mentioned him to my co-workers I kind of laughed about being related to such a person, but then when I got back to my office and thought about it more it made me sad, and got me wondering how a person ends up like that. I haven’t seen this cousin in over 30 years, but I don’t remember him being the person he has become through years of practicing a philosophy of misanthropy.

I prefer the alternative. I prefer to love humankind, flawed though we may be. I admit that I am irritated sometimes by people who drive too slow, or cut me off in traffic, or refuse to respond to my emails, or can’t seem to understand a simple explanation or instructions. I do sometimes become irritated, but it doesn’t rise to the level of a misanthrope.

But as I thought about this more I realized that in those moments of irritation (and even a feeling of disgust for the “stupid and annoying” people), I am not much different than my cousin. I may not have embraced a philosophy of misanthropy, but I, in that moment in time, practice such a philosophy.

I am thankful that the Holy Spirit does not allow me to stay in those moments. Jesus told His disciples (and us), “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26. Jesus told us to love our neighbors and our enemies (Matthew 5:44), to forgive others when they sin against us (Matthew 6:14), that if we are meek we will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5), and that if we are peacemakers we will be called sons of God (Matthew 5:9). The Holy Spirit reminds me of these things that Jesus taught me, in those moments when I become irritated by my fellow human beings.

I am thankful, too, that God is not a misanthrope. He does not hate His creation, though He sometimes hates what we do. He loves us enough to ensure a way for us to be with Him for eternity and to know His heart here and now. May His Holy Spirit work in the hearts of all of humankind so that we might love one another as He loves us.

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