hate and forgiveness

Will Hate Win?

Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we’ve suffered, to forgive the one who inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.

I sat with tears in my eyes as I watched the late news last night. I don’t normally watch because the stories always make me feel heavy. The weight of the world seems to settle on my shoulders as I wonder how, as a human race – setting aside race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation – but as a human race we have become so goddamned full of hate.

Then one by one, the family members of the victims’ in the Charleston, South Carolina church shooting stood in front of the man who murdered the people they loved and held dearest in their hearts, people they will never see, hear, or touch again…and they forgave him.

“I will never talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her ever again. But I forgive you.”

“You hurt me, you hurt a lot of people. May God forgive you.”

“You have killed some of the most beautifulest people that I know… And it will never be the same. But as we said in Bible study, we enjoyed you. May God have mercy on you.”

“Although my grandfather and the other victims died at the hands of hate…everyone’s plea for your soul is proof that they lived and loved and their legacies will live on…..Hate won’t win.”

Hate won’t win.

Those three words were the last I heard before I went to sleep last night and are still there this morning.  I want desperately to hold on to them, to believe them. I pray to a deity to which my belief wavers from day to day and I wonder if it’s possible.

How far gone are we as a race? As a human race?

I know there is good in the world. I see it every day. Sadly, I see far too much more hate and prejudice and it is no wonder I feel so tired. I have brought children into a world where they have to learn to hide under desks or in closets and locked, gated fences are put around elementary schools to keep out those who would do them harm. And for what?

Hate. Anger. Mental illness. Belief in a cause that resents our freedom.

We go to the movies, to church, to the grocery store….the simple act of driving a car down the freeway and these all become a crap shoot.

Kids are beat up and mentally tortured for being different, or just being themselves.

Husbands kill wives, wives kill husbands. They kill their own children in the heat of a moment to hurt one another.

Children are neglected and abused, going to bed hungry because we live in a society where getting rich and gaining power is more important than taking care of our fellow man, making sure familes are fed, clothed, and have a place to lay their head at night that doesn’t sit on four tires.

Evil preys on our children, both inside and outside the family, and it knows no boundaries.

There are so many, many more stories on the evening news and some we will never even hear about. Every moment, anger and hate are perpetuated and we are fully on guard every time something like Charleston happens. Or are we?

Has this become the new normal?

I despise the idea that this is a very large part of the world my children are growing up in.

What Dylan Roof did was wrong. It was evil personified. But what those family members of his victims did was goodness and mercy. I am sure they will be relieved to see justice served but in their own hearts today, I hope they find peace. They have done themselves a great service. They have fostered a spirit of love and forgiveness, turning from the perpetuation of hate and offering hope.

It doesn’t make the world perfect. There will still be prejudice and judgment, bullying and violence. I know, in all honesty, that if someone was to hurt someone I love, just the thought of it boils my blood and vengeance is the first thought I have.

Perhaps I was crying with a mixture of emotion, realizing that what these people were doing was monumental, but knowing in my heart I would never be able to do what they have done….offer forgiveness to someone who took someone so precious to me.

Obviously there should be forgiveness, if for no other reason than to rest our own weary souls and to teach the next generation that it can be done…that love, compassion, grace, and mercy do still exist on this messy planet.

Can we learn, as hard as it might be, to forgive?

Of course, this is not to be confused with forgetting or becoming complacent. But obviously, fighting back, not with vengeful, unnecessary violence, but forgiveness is possible.

Is this the way to learn as well as to teach that hate won’t win and  to begin healing a broken race?

Or are we too late?

 

 

Photo credit: flickr.com

30 thoughts on “Will Hate Win?”

  1. I think if we are able to spread enough compassion and teach enough character, things will improve. Thank you for a well written and thoughtful article. We did not get here overnight and we will not fix it overnight. Becoming a better society will require effort and time.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I heard the family members speaking and was immediately humbled, as I’m not sure I could have exhibited such a spirit of love and forgiveness in the face of such evil and loss. Thank you for your very thoughtful post on these troubling times.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It starts right where we are, Sandy. In how we react to the world around us and the good and bad that it does. The evil exists, and has always existed, and always will exist. It’s not just Hitler and this Roof kid or anything that blatant. It’s in how we portray the world, how we consume it, and how we fail to embrace the common ground in humanity but instead point out the differences at any given opportunity.

    I believe love will win out. But hate will keep scoring.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, Eli. I suppose I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing which is teaching my kids to be good people, believe that there is and will always be good and to treat life as the gift that it is. As I said to Lizzi in an earlier comment, I think I just had a moment where it all seemed to be so much. Much too much.

      I want to always believe love will win.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel there is much good going on in this world, Sandy. But it doesn’t get the press that hatred and cruelty does. It goes on behind the scenes in quiet ways, occasionally bubbling to the surface, but usually remaining hidden. I have to have the hope and faith that it will continue . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hatred and evil have always existed. They sit upon that shelf just as quaintly as love and goodness. And they beg for us to choose. They do.

    No one person is all good or all evil. That is what makes us such complex creatures: we can be horrible people who do good and good people who do evil. Because we all commit heartless acts. We all hurt others. We all do. Just some are less soul searing and heinous than others.

    Forgiveness, the Real deal, not the “I forgive you” and then replay the offense over and over and over on your heart recorder, is Not for the faint of heart. That kind of forgiveness is sacred. It truly is.

    Thank you for this post, Sandy.
    Thank you.

    With gratitude,
    Dani

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome for the post but it is I who thanks you for this honest and thoughtful comment. It is true there are many sides to each and every one of us. And no, true forgiveness is not an easy thing to do. It takes guts and commitment, to be sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sandy what a heartbreaking story yet you’ve done justice to it. Making us weigh our good nature verses that dark one. Yes, forgiveness will always overtake evil. I believe it’s the only thing keeping society from full on barbaric times. We recently were touched by something dark and hideous. Two people went to our elementary school, (the same one my kids attended) with a duffel full of guns prepared to kill children and teachers. Thank God, a bus driver seen them in the field when she heard the shot. They had killed a cat. The school went on lockdown immediately and the people were arrested before they could take any lives other than the animal. They were jacked up on Meth and said “God told them to kill as many kids as they could for the Matrix.” You said it Sandy. This is the world we freaking live in. The Poor parents came to parent pick up to get their kids to find this horrific scene. I don’t know why there has to be this kind of evil around us. But I pray more people find it in their hearts to spread love and kindness. And people like you Sandy who’ll write about it and bring light to it. I pray God wrap his loving arms around these victims families and hold them there, giving them peace. Sharing this now!!! 😉 xoxo ❤

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  7. I can totally relate to your weariness and frustration. I also despair by the horrible things that go on in the world. What I wonder is – is this a new thing? I know we often look to the past with nostalgia for the “good old days” – but I know (from talking to those that experienced it) that there was evilness and hatred back then – just as there is now. I’m wondering if it just seems that it was a kinder, happier time because there was not instant worldwide information sharing back then. And I wonder if all of this information sharing – while helpful for so many things – perpetuates violence and hatred because it is so easy to find others that share those twisted beliefs, making them seem more normal.

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  8. Kudos to you for saying out loud (writing) what most of us are thinking, Sands. Methinks we do not truly know the depths of our own hearts until tested in such heinous ways…may it never be so for you. Love Red

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have no idea how happy I am to see you! I read your comments up there a bit with Lizzi and I’m so glad you’re doing well! You are missed.
      Like you, I hope I never, ever have to find out the limits of my ability to forgive. I have a pretty good feeling that I would fail.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Sands, I’ve missed me too. I’m doing better than ever in spite of the circumstances and am slowly re-engaging with the world.

        As for our limits, it’s people like me who should be concerned about those, not the beautiful hearts in the world like you. You are an inspiration. Love Red

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  9. Goosebumps…simple goosebumps. I wonder the same thing, how is this the world I am raising my child in? Then I think back to growing up with bomb shelters and drills to hide under our desk as a child in the 70s. (exactly how was that desk going to save me from a bomb, I used to wonder). We survived the of the Cold War and fear of mutual destruction, race riots and the feminist movement. Only to create a world where we would wish for the war to be Cold and remote.

    I don’t know when the world got so full of despair. Instead of making it better for future generations, we seem to make it worse. I don’t know the answer. But I know I will teach my girls to love first, forgive second and worry third. Hate is something I hope they are never taught

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