Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Dark Feeling That Grows Like a Tumor

When Star Wars, The Return of the Jedi, was released I was in the midst of a spiritual crisis. A person I cared for very much had become addicted to cocaine and I hated the pusher that got her on it. I spent every waking moment hating that person. It troubled me in another way because I knew that any hatred for any person, even a justified hatred, was poison to the soul and my hatred for that person had poisoned my soul. When Luke Skywalker confronted Palpatine he had to struggle to defeat him without hating him, (and it is more obvious in the book than it was in the movie) because Luke understood that when he gave into hate he would take the first step toward becoming a fallen Jedi, just like his father. I understood completely.

Eventually I had to forgive that dealer, not for his sake, but for my own. The well justified hatred I had for that person was not benefiting anyone, least of all myself. That is part of the reason that Jesus emphasized forgiveness so much, because retained anger becomes hatred and hatred is a cancer that grows until it consumes you.

A justified hatred starts out as anger over a wrong-doing or dramatic failure that hurts you or a loved one. If there is no satisfaction found and forgiveness the anger grows until it consumes more and more of your thoughts. Soon you reach the point where it is infecting other thoughts and you become obsessed with it. You become angry at those who don't share your anger because they "obviously don't care." Soon the anger becomes the primary driver of your life and once it dominates all of your thoughts, you and your anger become one and the same.

There was a guy I used to work with who was a decent, likable guy. I forget what led up to it but he became a union fanatic and when the union failed to deliver he got angry. He hated management and he soon came to hate those who didn't hate management. He shouted obscenities at those who didn't vote the way the union instructed us to. By the time he left I could no longer call him a decent, likable guy; he was a bundle of anger and hatred and little more.

I have seen it at both ends of the political spectrum when hatred supplants reasoned discussion. It's normal to disagree with a politician, even to dislike them, but when anger turns to obsessed anger, which turns to hatred, no good will come of it. You read it at Daily Kos where leftists are unhinged with their hatred and anger. There are also a few conservative bloggers who burn with anger at anyone who does not share their out of control rage at the GOP for not nominating a real conservative. Such a person is a threat to their own spiritual well-being.

Forgiveness is hard. I know it is. But it is for the benefit of the forgiver as much as for the forgivee. Letting go of anger is hard. Letting go of hate is hard. But if you don't you will become very much like what you hate.

7 Comments:

Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

On the other hand, when we see the clear limitations of this country and the way we piss away money for the few at the sacrifice of the many, someone, somewhere, has to draw the line.

I see, Shoprat, only violent insurrection in our future. I am armed, I have ammo, I will defend my family. You and all may call me insane; I call myself prepared. What other future do you, IN REALITY -- not in "theory" -- do you see?

Life is tough; then you die.

BZ

7:40 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Awful doom n gloom, BZ. I see a lingering morass for a couple more years and then a brighter future. We've got to stop trying to fix the world (Iraq, Iran, Afgahnistan, Israel, etc.)and start fixing this country.

I too have guns and ammo, but I really don't see society breaking down ala "Roadwarrior". Maybe for a few days like after Katrina, but it will have to get much worse to have that be the normal state of affairs.

I find that Bushies are bigger "Haters" who get really pushy when you don't take everything they say as gospel.

6:18 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

BZ You may be right about what you have to do. I am not talking about what you do, but your state of mind and soul is equally important. If the thought of having to kill someone sickens you even as you do it than your doing what you have to do.

6:19 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

tim I have to disagree with you on which group has more hate, but then there is enough hate to go around.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

An important post and very well written.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

SR- I'm telling you. We have a couple guys at the gym that I work out in that just parrot that Rush Limbaugh stuff over and over when we are in the sauna talking about the Tigers and stuff. They sour the whole atmosphere when no one else is even talking politics. You disagree with anything that they say and they practically call you a commie. As soon as they leave somebody usually says "man, what an asshole!" You know, that really is why I try to avoid (mostly) political stuff on my blog. There's plenty of stuff dividing us as Americans, I don't want to contribute to that. Some frothing at the mouth types don't even accept "liberals" as fellow Americans and condemn them viciously. Look at you and I. We disagree on several issues politically, but I genuinely like you as a person and have nothing bad to say about your character. I can't tell you how many times I have been attacked by people online because I didn't parrot the gospel according to Limbaugh. I have also critisized Democrats (Gayle calls them DEMONRATS, I could never do that to republicans, I just call them republican'ts, because they can't govern effectively). I have no hate for these people. I must say that I usually get that to a much lesser extent from Democrats. One time, I was at a big company shindig at Ruth Chris steakhouse right after Reagan died (I cried watching his funeral on TV. He was a giant. It really affected my kids: they never saw me cry before)and the subject came up. I said that I cried and everybody nodded. I said that I'll bet you'll see many tears when Clinton dies and a "certain frothing at the mouth" republican looked at me like I just called his mother a whore and farted in the front pew in church all at once. Needless to say, I quickly changed the subject, being a work function and all. There just seems to be this crusader mentality that 80% of the country is wrong and we have to jam it down their thoats wheter they accept it or not among the Neo-Con branch of republicans. I used to always vote republican, but my party has swung so far to the right that I don't recognize it anymore.

12:10 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Oh, one more thing. I never read Daily Kos, so maybe that's where all of the Dem "Haters" congregate. Still, There are no dem Ann Coulters out there. Her and Michelle Malkin seem to be having a contest to see who can provoke the most.

12:15 AM  

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