Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Elections and Hate

Two days ago in my Spanish Classes I had the opportunity to share with my students my feelings on the (then) upcoming election. As students came into class I had them make lists of all the reasons they don't like people. Many students expressed their dislike for this task, saying it was mean. As we compiled a list of undesirable characteristics we wrote down things like liars, cheaters, haters, hypocrites, being mean, jealous and on and on. After reading through the list I asked students what was not on the list. After a few puzzling moments a bright student spoke up, "who we vote for". Other students started to catch the idea and began saying things like, "what religion we are" or "what our political views are". We compiled a list and discussed how it is OK to disagree with someone's political view and still like them. Not surprisingly, almost every student understood and agreed with this point. So why am I sharing this with you? Because I couldn't finish. What I wanted to say isn't allowed.

"And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept." Moses 7:28

Towards the end of the Book of Moses, we get to see a glimpse into a vision that the Prophet Enoch had. In the vision Enoch see's everything from Adam down to the end of the world. At one point in the vision we see a perfect glorified God of heaven weeping over his creations. We all have the same question that Enoch asked, "How is it that thou canst weep?"

As I read the answer that followed, my mind tried to understand. My heart drooped low as I read all the reasons. Then something jumped out at me. I thought to myself, "what is not there?" "Why didn't God weep?"

When God answers Enoch he doesn't say "I'm weeping because of who they voted for President", or "Can't you see how many liberals there are?" or even "How can they pass a gun control law like that?" No, what he says is

"Behold these thy bretheren, (I have) given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood".

What a damning accusation. Apparently what makes the God of the heavens weep is not political affiliation or ignorant voters, but hate. Hatred of your fellow man (or woman) for whatever reason you could imagine. Just think, as a parent you teach your children to love each other, how sad it must be when not only can they not get along but they hate their own blood.

So, I am not worked up about who won the election or how will I ever survive this next for years. I am, however, very concerned about how we have treated each other in the moments following the results. Hatred is never OK. Not when someone insults us or disagrees, not when we believe someone to be a terrible person and especially not when they happen to vote for a candidate whom you despise.

Martin Luther King Jr. said it best: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others. In dangerous valleys and hazardous pathways, he will lift some bruised and beaten brother to a higher and more noble life."

I believe that this stands especially true when we called to defend those who disagree with us or even those who hate and spew hatred. We will not make change in our neighbor or in our brother by hatred. One can only lift a bruised and beaten and mistaken brother with love, kindness and understanding. One single president cannot change that who we are or who we become. 320 million can.

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