Meditation on Lk 6:22-23; Hatred and Exclusion

Would that I were comfortable with people hating me; it is not something for which I crave, even with your description of the reward as great. Note that it must be “on account of the Son of Man.” While ” Son of Man” is often used by you to describe yourself, I wonder whether, at least in this instance, it is not your intention to identify yourself with all who are hated for no reason, for the color of their skin, for the ethnic heritage, for their religious beliefs, for their culture, mannerisms, smell, location, wealth, poverty, illness, health, job, unemployment, etc., etc., etc., for the millions of different things we use to differentiate “us” from “them.” It is not a “nice feeling” to be hated; it is terrifying, frightening, isolating. One becomes desperate, discouraged, defiant. Yet you tell us to rejoice, indeed to leap for joy. Both counterintuitive and countercultural. It reminds one, indeed of a leap of faith into your arms, the unknown and unseen but omnipresent hands of safety and comfort.

Now hating arises from animosity, which, from its original meaning of boldness and vigor has taken on the connotation as well as the modern denotation of “in opposition to.” While this type of hatred seems to include some thought, i.e. “anima” meaning rational life, mind, much hatred actually arises from ignorance, from lack of knowledge of the other, lack of understanding, lack of empathy and sympathy, a lack of consciousness of them…which shares a common root with “conscience,” to know thoroughly. The ancient Native American saying concerning not really knowing another until you have walked in their moccasins bears revisiting. If, before we rushed to judgment, we forced ourselves to completely and empathetically understand the other from their point of view, I suggest that we would be much more reticent to pass any judgment on that fellow human being.

Exclusion is something of a different matter, at least to me. I fear, loath, am extremely uncomfortable with exclusion. I equate exclusion, to be shut out, with unimportance, invisibility, the lack of knowledge of who I am…since, at present, I define myself by what others say, think and act toward me. Indeed, I revert to the identification method of an infant or child, knowing myself by excluding others from my self image, self boundaries; in opposition to others I define myself. A love-hate relationship is the only relationship that can come of such a defining process: I must love and tolerate others to know who I am, but in that very necessity, I scorn both them and me, them for allowing me to do so and for being ignorant that I am using them thus, and me for need such a crutch, such an unreliable outside source to know where I stand. Severing such ties is both scary and freeing; scary for it is the only modus operandi with which I am comfortable, which which I have been adequately, if not independently and well, for nie on 69 years; freeing for I would no longer have to rely on pleasing others and thus could devote myself to pleasing you, God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Rather than attempting unsuccessfully to rely on others for my strength of character, of self, I would and could rely on you to identify me, to name me, to give me character, to enlighten me, to be my strength in time of need.

Help me make this transition from clinging to my delusions to creating in, through and with You, from relying on others to redemption, to enabling and welcoming yourself in me so that I may indeed be bought back from the slavery to a false and marred image of self, brought back from the edge of self-destruction, to a new life in you, in your company, in your service.

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