Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hate enough to love

Weeks ago, I had a nightmare where the government was forcing parents to kill their children. All parents were given an orange bottle of pills, and we were to administer the drug to our children. In the dream, I saw girls in pink dresses, their arms wrapped around their tummies, laying on the floor. Little boys were disappearing. My sons were crying, holding unto my legs.

Perhaps the most unsettling of all, there was no sound. Even the children's cries were silent.

I woke up disturbed. In the dream, I had refused to give the drug to my children, but I went about life in the usual way. Why did I not take my children and flee? Why was there no riot? Why was I not doing something to save the other children? Why did I not care enough—to fight?

I woke up, and see that my world is not all that different. Mine, too, is a violent world. Here, too, children are being slaughtered.

I woke up, and see that I am as I was in my dream. I do not care enough.

Some of our close friends are fighting for the lives of children. A few committed themselves to be foster parents. We have a brave number of friends who adopted children. There are those who are advocates and helpers of refugees in their communities. Others are voices for the unborn in high places. Another friend is a counselor to battered women. I long for their sense of urgency, their fierce compassion.

Rosaria Butterfield saved me from some kind of folly when she said, we are to "love the sinner, and hate our own sin." I don't love my neighbor because I don't hate my own sin. I am not revolted by my self-centered, this-worldly priorities. I am, in fact, quite comfortable with my lack of love for my neighbors. I find excuses to guard my space, my time, and my reputation. I cast blame. I console myself by imagining how righteous I am in other ways.

I had several bouts of hives this summer. My entire body, from toe to scalp, was covered in red, swollen patches. The itch, and the pain from my own scratching, nearly drove me mad. My reflection in the mirror was revolting.

I must hate my selfishness the way I hated my hives. I need to pray as David prayed, "My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness, I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning." His prayer of repentance in the following psalm is so unexpected, so different from my own: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

The fight to love life must begin in my heart. I don't love my neighbors enough because I don't hate my sin enough. I don't hate my sin enough because I don't love my Lord enough.

my sin crucified you to a tree.
My heart is foul, harden, and foolish.
Help me know how fleeting I am,
Give me hate enough
to love.


Julie said...

Beautiful turns of phrase, and even more importantly, true and important thoughts.
Thank you for the challenge.

Irene Sun said...

Dear Julie, Thank you for your reading, as always. =) Let's keep thinking together.

Andrew Seaman said...

Hot or cold, but not indifferent. Reminds me of a speech by Elie Wiesel on indifference. Check it out if you have time. I think you'd like it. :)

Liswindio said...

what a strong message you have here. It's always easier to stay in comfort zone, but it's more meaningful when we finally decide to fight for righteousness