Hating hatred

There’s a lot of hate out there. People who have allowed it to consume them are doing some pretty horrific things.

That makes us frustrated and shocked and sometimes even numb.

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And then along comes anger to pull us out of it. Anger thrusts us into action, although often it is without thorough thought about what may come after we jump into this particular anger-induced act.

The call for our leaders to do something, be they political or religious, screams in all of our ears.

For some reason I find this a bit ridiculous. What do we expect them to do: tell us to be nicer to each other?

No, we expect them to severely punish the perpetrators. I wonder if that isn’t more like standing in the storm, calling for the lost horses after they have stampeded out into the night.

It makes us feel like we’re doing something, but…

Perhaps if we had trained the horses to return to the barn upon hearing our voice after the storm, we really could stand and call out for them.

barn

And have a reasonable expectation that most of them would indeed return.

Absurd?

Not at all.

It boils down to the difference between punishment and discipline.

A horse that is punished will run every chance it gets. A horse that has been truly disciplined will return every time, and in fact, in many instances not run in the first place, but stand calm and firm.

Because it wants to.

Equitation - Western Riding. Young Woman riding a Quarter Horse outdoors in a Field.

Instead of screaming for severe punishments to somehow deter people who are already imprisoned within their own minds, perhaps a focus on providing opportunities for discipline would be more effective in stemming the tide of hatred and horror.

But doesn’t that rob us of our justified hating of the hatred?

Mercifully so.

Looking back at the history of the civil rights movement, wasn’t the greatest good done by a man who taught others to be, and was himself, peaceful and loving?

Yes, to the point that it cost him his life.

Looking back at the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wasn’t the greatest good done by a man who was more merciful than just, always providing a road back?

Yes, to the point that it cost him his life.

Savior5Looking back at the history of the world, wasn’t the greatest good done by a Man who preached a higher law of love?

Yes, to the point it cost him his life.

Yes, we should be emotionally moved to step up and affect change in light of the burning pain of hate. But hating hatred hasn’t ever worked.

So we look for sweeping changes in our federal laws that will promise to catch each struggling individual. But waiting for others to somehow legislate love is lunacy.

Wouldn’t that be like trying to punish me into being kind?

I’d rather be disciplined.

There will always be people who hate as long as there is agency. Perhaps when these hate-filled tragedies happen, more good comes from sorrowing for the pain it has caused, reaching out for our neighbor in compassion and prayer and support, and combating hatred with the only weapon proven to eradicate it – loving discipline.

??????????????Tomorrow will be brighter when we don’t allow hate and anger to win today.

Well-meaning people express the hope that the latest tragedy will begin a conversation regarding the issue. But I can remember hearing exactly the same thing said after Columbine, 16 years ago.

If we haven’t started to talk yet…

I’ve always trusted the testimony of one who lives what they profess over one who continues to profess what it is that they think we should live.

The time has arrived that our actions will speak much louder than our words. After all, are we any less passionate or firm in our convictions if we aren’t screaming or demanding?

No.

service3In fact, I think someone who quietly gets up each day and pays attention to those around him, discovering their needs and then working to fill those needs, is about as solid as they come.

You know, giving their life for what they believe.

Why do they do it?

Being disciples of Jesus Christ, they have chosen discipline over punishment.

A disciple is a student who learns.

The prophet Joseph Smith taught:

I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.

A lifetime spent learning truth leads to loving actions.

It kind of takes all the fire out of our hating others’ hatred, doesn’t it?

That’s okay.

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With the hate gone, now we can really get down to work.

After all, isn’t that the only life worthy of giving?

 

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