Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hate: We aren't born with it, we learn it.

I started this post on August 6th. It was the day after the shooting at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin. I felt it might be too heavy a topic for one of my first few posts so I saved it and didn't finish writing that night. Honestly, I think I was scared to address this topic. Partly because I know I am guilty. But this week, things keep happening that keep stirring this topic in my head and my heart so here it goes. (I apologize if it is really long.)

The founder of World Vision, Bob Pierce, prayed a prayer when he was starting World Vision. In Richard Sterns book, The Hole in Our Gospel, he introduces you to Mr. Pierce and his prayer. I prayed that prayer 3 years ago this Fall and all I can tell you is that, God answered.

“Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”Bob Pierce, World Vision founder

I am a Christian but a lot of things about my own religion leaves me befuzzled and full of questions. I don't agree with everything I have been taught. To some people, maybe I am not Christian enough.

But to me, my God is love, He is not hate. He does not promote hate. He gave His Son so we could all know love. When I think of hate, I see God sad. I see it breaking His heart. I think He looks down and shakes His head at us saying, "You are missing it. LOVE. L-O-V-E. The greatest of these commandments is LOVE."

Hate manifests itself in so many different forms. Hate because someone is a different race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, gender, weight... Hate simply because "they aren't like us."

I looked at my daughter the day of the Sikh Temple shooting in Wisconsin. It hit me that one day there will be a time when I have to explain to her that someone killed another person simply because they are different. Watching her play so innocently and thinking of her playing with her friends at Mother's Day Out or the park, it occurred to me: Hate is a learned.

Hate is learned, so that means someone else teaches, whether intentionally or unintentionally, hate.

Some times children are told to not like certain people because they are different. Other times they aren't told directly but rather observe their parents or families behavior and words and learn it that way.

Why would I do that to my daughter? Why would I do that to this world? What I teach my daughter affects this entire world in one way or another. (Hint the name of the blog.)

If I teach her to look down on others because they are different for whatever reason, I am not doing my job as a parent and I am definitely not doing my job as a Christian parent.

Here are some situations and thoughts on hate with example from my perspective.

Sexual Orientation
The same week I launched this blog was the huge Chick-Fil-A thing. (I am not bashing their company right now, I am just talking about my take away from the situation. I still eat there as I still drink Starbucks). Initially I really thought it was just about freedom of speech. Then I realized that some people participating weren't realizing the underlying message they were sending while others knew good and well what they were doing.

I am a Christian but I also believe homosexual couples should be able to marry. I am glad we are from a country with free speech so yes, Chick-Fil-A can state their beliefs. I am glad I ca shop where I want and eat and drink what I want. But on the day of support Chick-Fil-A, I didn't participate because the majority of the gay community didn't see this as a "free speech" thing, they saw this as a "we hate you" kind of day.

This verse stayed on my mind all week, "Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble." 1 Corinthians 8:13

When I read this verse, I could see this as, "Don't eat that sandwich today because that might make someone feel hated, not loved."

Religion confuses me. It makes me sad. But it also gives me hope.

When killings happen because someone believes the wrong thing, something different from whomever is doing the killings, the reasoning escapes me.

When people protest a center in a town from being built because it is a different religion than what they are used to, that is hate. In America, we have freedom, freedom to worship whom we choose and how. To teach your child to grow up hating someone because they are a different religion than you are makes no since to me.

This video has been floating around the web and news, of a newscaster who addresses a man who wrote her a degrading email about her weight. I love her reply to him and her message for young people who are being bullied.

Parents, your children are watching and listening to everything you say. They hear the words you call people. The things you say to other adults about other adults and even other children. They learn to think like you. "If my mom and dad say these things then it must be okay to do."

So many kids are bullied and it is so sad. Why must we always pick on people?

Set an example for your kids. Remember the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Talk about others the way you want others to talk about you. Talk about others the way you want your children to talk about others.

This week's episode of Parenthood addresses the "N" word. This episode was incredibly powerful to me. For those not familiar with the show, their is an interracial couple who have a son. He hears the word in a song. His dad is white and he thought he had fully explained to his young son why this word was inappropriate, until the mother states she needs to address it. I know this was a tv show with a script but it really made an impression on me. I'm a white girl so I can never understand what it feels like to be called that word. To be degraded in such a fashion and to be made to feel you are less of a person or human as said by the actress, breaks my heart. How can this be ok?

The book and movie, The Help, also helped bring this to the surface. How could we treat other human beings as less because of the color of their skin. Growing up in Northeast Louisiana, I am all too familiar with that word and how it can be used and how people can be thought of differently because of their skin color.

There are things I have done and said in my past that I am so incredibly ashamed of. Things that hurt people and promoted hate. I have said things that discriminated on all levels from race, weight, looks, sexual orientation, religion, and even gender. I have said horrible things in my past. I am so sincerely sorry for those hurtful and hateful words I have uttered.

Sometimes I look back at myself and I don't even recognize me and I thank God for that. I am not same Samantha I once was. I am so thankful that my heart has been changed and my eyes have been opened. How did I live that way for so long? How did I walk around with such an ugly heart and think I was really serving my Jesus?

As a mom, I will do everything in my power to make sure my daughter learns love and acceptance. I want to teach her to stand up for her beliefs but not to degrade someone else because of theirs. I want her to believe in herself and not be scared to be different. I want her to not be scared to be friends with people who are different from her. I want to teach her LOVE, not hate.

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