Judgment is Judgment: Your preachin’ ain’t helpin’!

Imagine how much suffering you would have had to endure to allow hatred to permeate your heart—your very being. Pause now and consider it. Stop pretending you are constitutionally superior and imagine that the difference between you and the people who scare you most is what you and they have experienced in this lifetime. And, what you and they have not.

Hatred is suffering. Just like addiction. Don’t be fooled into believing it is chosen lightly. It is chosen (or inherited) by those who perceive that their pain will be more easily tolerated by choosing to focus the dissonance of suffering onto one thing (group of people, morality, ideology…). Rather than be engulfed by the rage of relentless torment, they project it onto something outside of themselves.

I knew a man many years ago during my darkest years who claimed to have willfully taken someone’s life. He was also a proud racist. He knew hatred well and seemed to find pleasure in creating fear in others. But, because the human condition fascinates me and I seek opportunities for my beliefs to be challenged, I got to know him well. In fact, I loved him. In the space of freedom from needing to defend himself, he shared the emotional and physical torture he endured as a little boy. He shared how his addiction had changed him. How, because he could not control himself, he had to control everything around him. How prison had taught him to hate other races. To survive, you had to team up. So, that is what he did. I asked him if he truly felt hatred in his heart. He said no. It was simply all he had known. But, given a chance to set it aside, if only for a moment, he did so with heartbreaking ease. He built a life pretending to hate to survive.

One of the many blessings that emerged from that dark time was my understanding that we are all equally human. I am not encouraging anyone to spend time with people who frighten them. You don’t have to spend time with someone to have genuine empathy and understanding.

If you had been born to a family that never showed you love, that taught you to fight or be humiliated and beaten, might you also suffer enough to hate?

Don’t be fooled.

If ever malevolent forces were real, they would exist in the moment we respond to hatred and division with fear. The transmutation of suffering into self-righteousness is what hatred yearns for—to be known. Both are defenses against what scares us. They are brothers.

The only path to a world where we are all free to live our truths is love (hatred is never someone’s truth although it can certainly seem that way). Practical love. The very real energy we generate from our highest selves and give freely to those we decide worthy. Imagine a world where all are worthy of your love.

It sounds so simple. One of the things that makes being human so exacting is realizing it is love for those who challenge us most that changes the world for the better. Want proof? Take a look around. We are living the alternative now. Explaining how wrong the other is, or gathering in groups of people sipping wine and gently massaging each other’s indignation is the problem.

Your preachin’ (whether it be religious, spiritual, or philosophical) ain’t helpin’! Nor does your teasing and ridicule.

I know being right feels good. I really, really get that. So does getting high. But, judgment is judgment. Its impact does not differ depending on where you are standing. Its effect is division. When we judge others as hopelessly different, we create the divides we say we want to heal.

You can’t admonish people into being a force for good. You can only demonstrate. Choose to love, to be energetically connected. Share with those-who-suffer-enough-to-will-harm-on-others that you too have felt the tug of hatred. You too have taken dark turns paved with fear and sadness. Pretending you are somehow fundamentally different than the other-who-suffers-enough-to-hate leaves them nowhere to go but to double down. Self-righteous judgment proves them right by portraying one as so different than the other that they must defend against “the enemy” who cannot possibly comprehend what it means to be “me.”

Demonstrate the truths you fight for, or you simply fight in vain. Better yet, stop fighting and listen. Share your truest self and, yes, bear the pain of that vulnerability. It’s the only way forward.

The good news? Forward is inevitable. So, get to work.