To want anything less than happiness, redemption, and the best for another human being is not an exercise in Compassion – it is an investment in Hate.
What Hate Sounds Like
A few years back, when Michael Jackson died, I remember very distinctly some of the hate-filled things that people were saying:
“I hope he rots in Hell!”
“I wonder if he’ll become Satan’s personal plaything.”
“He needs to suffer for eternity!”
Some of the things I heard (or read) got even more harsh than the above. But they’re not worth repeating here. In all honesty I’d be surprised if you didn’t hear some of these things, too. Maybe you even said stuff like this!
We’ll never really know what The King of Pop did or did not do, so that’s not what this post is about.
This post is about the Hate we hold in our hearts. It’s about our willingness to invest in that Hatred, even in the cause of something we consider just.
Take Hitler, for instance. He is a man directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of millions of people, including the attempted extermination of an entire group of human beings. That sentence – though a fair summation of his contribution to this world – doesn’t even skim the surface of the terrible and vile things that this man did. So it makes complete sense that when we think of Adolf Hitler we most likely believe – and, in fact, expect – that he will be paying for his sins for all time in a fiery place down below.
Many of us – maybe all of us – would go so far as to say we “hope” that he is suffering in Hell for all Eternity.
I’m not going to lie – at least some measure of punishment is something I would think Hitler should deserve. I don’t think I would balk at the notion.
But… for Eternity?
What “Eternity” Really Means
If we really and truly believe that Hell is a place where a soul will encounter an intense suffering and torment far beyond anything we can possibly imagine, how could we actually hope or want for anyone – even someone as abhorrent as Adolf Hitler – to experience this for all Eternity? Where is the Compassion in this?
Stop and ask yourself, if we truly believe in God’s Love, does He Love Hitler any less than He Loves any of us? Does He not hope for Hitler’s redemption?
Does God hope that any of us would suffer for all Eternity?
I should think not.
And, yet, why are we so willing to crucify others emotionally? Why do we wish the worst upon a person eternally, even if it seems more than deserving?
I use Hitler as an extreme and ultimate example. But this isn’t about Hitler, either.
Identify The Hate You Have In Your Heart
This is about that politician you focus all your Hate on. This is about that group of people on the “other side” that you are eager to condemn to a terrible fate. This is about that boss over whom you seethe. This is about that person that has it all whom you would love to see torn down. This is about your neighbor or coworker. Your in-law or family member. Your former friend. That person who undermines you at every turn.
As human beings, it would appear natural for us to pursue a course of Hate, even in the guise of Justice. But Hate, in any form, is Hate. To want anything less than happiness, redemption, and the best for another human being is not an exercise in Compassion – it is an investment in Hate. And to invest in something, one needs to put energy into it.
But you don’t need to give Hate your energy. Certainly not all, and truthfully not any. As Star Wars-ian as it may sound, don’t give in to it.
Invest In Compassion
Instead, do the hard thing – invest in Compassion. Compassion doesn’t ask you to like something. But it does expect from you a step beyond that, into something deeper and more profound. Something that doesn’t want or hope on the side of despair. Put your energy into this. Have Compassion for those whom you would otherwise condemn to Hell for all Eternity.
Instead of focusing all your energies on Hate, focus them on Compassion. Focus them on Love. If you truly can’t Love those you would otherwise condemn, ignore them entirely – don’t give them your energy. Instead, take that energy and focus it somewhere else; on someone else.
There’s already enough Hate in the world. You don’t need to contribute to it.