Monday, January 16, 2012

DROP THE HATE




Last Friday my friend Christi wrote the following quote on my Google+, "Kiss slowly, laugh insanely, live truly, and forgive quickly." I nodded my head as I read the first three until I got to the latter. (Insert sound of screeching brakes here.) I've written about my inability to forgive quickly in some of my previous posts but this weekend I was confronted by a hate so palpable it felt like a blow torch incinerated my viscera.

I've sat in church hundreds of times and listened intently to sermons on forgiveness. Forgiveness is a choice that liberates me from a self-imposed prison cell built on hatred, bitterness, and resentment. Once THAT concept penetrated my thick, stubborn skull I made a conscious effort to forgive the one who physically, mentally, and emotionally abused me for ten years. And forgiveness is like an ongoing self-improvement workshop that requires commitment and daily attendance. But I've discovered that it's true: choosing to forgive someone releases you from your own hatred because harboring that venomous poison is another form of self-abuse and self-destruction. I couldn't move forward with living life in its abundance and loving another if I didn't learn the exercise of forgiveness.

As a recipient of a hatred so fiery in its depth I felt an excess of emotions: pity, wonderment, irritation, disdain, and amusement. Pity, because this person who is practically a non-entity to me wasted so much time and energy mustering an almighty hatred. Wonderment, because the vicious hatred spewed from this person would be justified if I intentionally sabotaged or retaliated in some form but I have not. I'm not claiming innocence but take ownership of my own actions. I know my deeds have been misunderstood and/or misconstrued but this person's hatred doesn't allow room for compromises. The gavel of this person's justice has slammed and I've been judged without mercy or grace, issued a life sentence of undiluted enmity. Irritation, because it is evident that hatred truly festers from the inside out and the state of this person's health is being affected. Disdain, because this person's hatred is affecting a third party and it's unfair. And amusement, because this person is clueless of my ambivalence to the hatred. I'm not one who operates on affirmation and the need to be liked. I've always believed that you either like me or you don't and I will not apologize for who I am if I'm not intentionally hurting others.

I accept that this person will not alter their stance in their hatred toward me. This person is not unlike the hollow tree that is infected by spreading decay of fungi and insects leading to deterioration. It is the individual's choice to forgive me or to initiate an act of reconciliation. In the past I have made overt acts of deference but obviously this person was merely lying in wait for the time when I would err in judgment. Thus, opening a door to unleash the monster of hatred.

So, I remain silent. And grateful for a living testament of the inward devastation that occurs when hatred is nurtured, then harbored. This person will serve as a reminder to live my own life choosing to forgive quickly.

I encourage all of you to heed the words of one of my favorite Fatboy Slim songs, drop the hate, forgive each other.


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