Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hate & Anger

Anne Lamott once said,“You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” Lately the hatred of people around the world for each other has been on my heart. It saddens me how much we have left the ideas of tolerance and respect by the wayside and have let our anger over the differences we all have boil into hatred. Just today, an angry mob in Serbia [over the United States' support of Kosovo's independence] attacked the US Embassy in Belgrade. No Americans were killed but one of the protestors was. Now I will honestly admit terrible ignorance on my behalf on the entire history of the former Yugoslavia, but I know it is filled with violence, anger, and hatred. Whatever the reasons, it is known that this split of Serbia & Kosovo isn't exactly sitting well with everyone. Interestingly enough, it was 43 years ago that Malcolm X was killed in the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan by angry members of the Nation of Islam. Once again, hatred and anger showing their ugly faces. I know this is kind of a jumbled post, but all of this violence over anger/hate just does not sit well with me. It is frustrating that we as human beings cannot get over our own biases and thoughts to see another person's viewpoint. If a person does not believe exactly what I believe in - they must be wrong. Not once does it seem like we take the time to understand why others believe what they believe. I see this in my life all of the time. For me it can range from simple things like sports and music preference to more complex things like parenting styles, religious beliefs, and political stances. No matter what the topic though, when someone else disagrees I feel the need to defend myself and argue why the other person is wrong. When did it become "wrong" to disagree over something? I wish SO MUCH that this would somehow not describe the Chuch - and yet look around - thousands of denominations, all split and developed because of anger (hatred?) over disagreements. The problem lies in that we, as a human race, have chosen to take our arguments and anger to the point of killing. Murder and killing reigns in a world filled with anger & hatred all stemming from intolerance. Instead of stopping the violence and trying to understand - we continue to build up our grudges, frustrations, and hate. I am not sure if there is anything that can be done. The pessimist inside of me wants to say that it is impossible to overcome all of this. And yet...part of me wants to believe that I can make a difference. That somehow, someway I can help put an end to all of the violence, frustration, anger and hate. Who knows. Maybe I can make a difference, maybe I cannot. All I know is that I want to live the rest of my life trying to understand other people. I want to take the time to listen. I want to take the time to be tolerant. Most of all, I want to stop thinking that somehow my way is God's way, and therefore the right way. Whether that can change the world or not, is not up to me. It changes my world, though, and that's a pretty good start.