“When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves.”
~Archbishop Desmond Tutu, God Has a Dream (2004)
It is hard for me—a person so completely characterised within the majority—to identify with the oppression of the minority. I have not experienced oppression as many have experienced it in everyday life; but, like you perhaps, I can sympathise.
The oppression that indigenous South Africans underwent during the 1960s to the early 1990s defies belief—that this sort of prejudice existed only 20 years ago; yet, it exists today in smaller dimensions everywhere, and might always, where justice does not combat it.
Oppression on a major scale is one thing, but oppression on a micro scale, as it impacts on the oppressor and the oppressed person, makes for an interesting study. The divine working of oppression means that the oppressor becomes themselves, oppressed, by their very behaviour.
Hatred Is A Boomerang
God has made the reality of love and hate as plain as this: anyone who would choose to hate when they could so easily love instead, have found for themselves a curse of the simplest proportions. By their expressions of hate they come to hate themselves, and the classic irony is they will be forever blind to the working of such a curse, unless the light of Christ is shone, a revelation, so they can see.
Hatred is too generic to talk without example. We all battle with it.
If we struggle with racism, sexism, or freedom of religion, for example, and most of us do to some extent, we are quietly or boisterously at odds with the ability to unconditionally love those in our midst. To any extent that we struggle is the same extent we will struggle to accept God’s love for us as persons, and this will unfold to the limiting of our own acceptance of ourselves. We will hate ourselves to the extent we hate others, or their behaviour.
It pays to love others, for in loving others we have the ability to love ourselves. Whenever we reject, the boomerang comes back—there is, in that act, that rejection recoiling back to ourselves.
The Imperative Of Love
Following the above thesis, it isn’t difficult to see that loving others, even throwing the least vestige of hatred out the window, is a favour we do more for ourselves than anyone else.
In loving, we, first of all, are blessed. Love is an imperative; if we wish the best of life that God has given us the opportunity for, we best love and love with all our hearts, with no conscious limitation.
God’s Word tells us that every person is precious; a child of God. No matter their background, the colour of their skin, their sexual orientation, their religious or political preference, God loves them as much as anyone. Where, really, does hate fit? Simply, it doesn’t and never did.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.