Day after day I am reminded just how much hate exists in this world. We hate each other because of our political views and our religious beliefs. We hate each other because of our sexual orientation and parenting tactics. We hate each other based on what we wear, what we say, and what we eat. We hate each other because of race, ethnicity, gender, and the sports teams we like. We hate it when others do this, do that, do nothing, do something, do it twice or do it to us.
We hate. We hate. We hate.
I heard my daughter say she hates a particular music artist. The other hates mashed potatoes. I’ve been told that people hate my beard. We hate television shows, movies, retail outlets, music, our jobs, our careers, our co-workers, our bosses.
We hate. We hate. We hate.
I could go on forever. I truly believe that there would be no end to list of things we hate in this world. Our obsession with hate, with negativity, is consuming. It consumes every fabric of our society. Don’t believe me? Tune in to your local news, a Facebook conversation or your Twitter feed. It is everywhere. When is enough going to be enough?
I am not fond of the word “hate”, but I must be honest and say that I have used it, and do use it. I work hard not to, but sometimes I fail. It is such a common word and it is very easy to fall in to the trap. The word will never go away and neither will the action. Let’s be real. It will never go away. So, if that is going to be the case, let’s stop hating people and start hating things like child trafficking, homelessness, and poverty. Let’s start hating something like hunger.
We had the opportunity to serve at Community Harvest Food Bank this weekend during Saturday morning distribution. In approximately two hours we helped serve more than 600 families in our community that were in need of food. The line seemed to never end and it was filled with a variety of people. It was a reminder that hunger does not discriminate based on age, race, sex or gender. Hunger affects everyone. Men, women and children of all ages, races and ethnicities passed through the line. I do not know their life stories and I never will. I do not need to. I do know, however, that their eyes spoke to me. They spoke of despair, need, and pain. They whispered appreciation, thankfulness and gratitude.
It is painful to see so many people, especially children, in need of food. Hunger is a reality right here in our community. Why are we not angry about it? Why do we not hate it like everything else? Do not tell me that we do. If we did, we would be doing a lot more to fix it. Hate usually drives us to some form of action. Hate usually gives us the courage to develop a voice. A few months ago people hated a dentist for killing a lion in Zimbabwe and they protested outside his office and he received death threats. Death threats for killing a lion? I was in Zimbabwe last year, a country that has 80% unemployment rates and children are literally dying of starvation on the streets. How about we get angry about that? Right here in our country millions of people were outraged because a coffee shop used a plain red cup instead of one that said “Merry Christmas.” Everyone had an opinion. Everyone had a voice. Hate spewed all over social media. It even showed up on the news. Is is too much to ask to take this approach, this anger, this hate, towards something we should truly hate?
I do not think so. I think it is pretty simple. We should stop hating people. We should love them. We should love them regardless of all of their “stuff”. If we are going to hate, let’s hate the real atrocities in our world. Let’s hate true, authentic evil. Let’s start by hating hunger and doing something about it.