The Legacy of Hatred

Each day I see the legacy of hatred
Written across my screen,
Displayed in videos.
It enters my car in voices on the radio.

Fists raised in anger.
Dueling pundits on cable TV.
The latest shooting.
Marching crowds and candlelit vigils.
Mothers weeping over children, slain.

I confess …
This legacy of hatred lives in me.
It flares out in traffic jams
And simmers inside my clenched jaws.
It plays out in my heart and mind
In unspoken judgments and harsh criticisms.

Wise ones,
How did you learn to love?
How did you learn to let go of
Wrongs done,
Raging resentments?

Holy One, you said that I should love my enemies
And pray for those who persecute me.

Have mercy on me, Gentle One,
For I don’t know how to love.

7 thoughts on “The Legacy of Hatred”

  1. YES!!! How? When I was young I though it was all about learning how to love. I never imagined how challenging that set of lessons would be/become. I now imagine there were easier tasks I could have chosen, easier prayers I could have prayed. Did I choose this one or did it choose me, I don’t know. Knowing it appears, is above my paygrade. 15 years ago I walked away from the appointive ministry thinking the demands of ministry would leave me in time. Instead now all the contacts of my life become invitations to incarnational presence & communion & awareness and there is no hiding place from fears and angers, resentments and rage, real and imagined, long held and newly acquired.

    And the text from Matthew 5: 23 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister[a] has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister,[b] and then come and offer your gift. Becomes. “So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that you have something against another… ” And I am haunted. For I live in times when it is easy to fill my heart with such somethings, on my behalf alone not to mention on behalf of the many suffering others.

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