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Monday, May 19, 2014

Angry at Truth and Love

When have you found that speaking truth and showing love can lead to hostility from others? How do you explain that? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1517).

I would like to turn this question around a bit and address it in the following way: When have I found that I get hostile when others speak the truth or show love? I like to take examples that are beyond the pale because that makes it easier to understand the elements involved. Let us say that it is sometime after World War I.  I'm a counselor and a gentleman comes into my office looking for help. He launches into a diatribe against the Jews. He says, "You see Wayne that is the problem. I have a terrible hatred for the Jews, and I want to overcome it."  What would be my reaction to Adolf Hitler?  As you can see the context makes a world of difference as to my feelings in regards to his hatred and prejudices--indeed, as to him personally.  He recognizes he has a problem. He has come to me for help. Naturally I would have compassion for him and do my best to help him in a kind and humane way.  Thus, we can see that when it is accompanied by repentance even the grossest sins can met with kindness and sympathy.  It is another matter entirely when the truth arises not from repentance but from steely self-righteousness.  My reaction in this case is certain to be hostile even though in a moment of prayer I may have compassion for Adolf's unrelieved slavery to racial hatred.

Now the above addresses an occasion when I could respond with hostility on hearing truth.  What would be an occasion when love could arouse my hostility? From personal experience I'm very familiar with mixed motives and emotions. Therefore I am sometimes cognizant of them in others.  Let us say that I observe a mother who loves her child but because of mixed motives uses the child to fill emotional deficits in her own life; or a father who loves his son but uses the son to compensate for his own lack of athletic accomplishments as a youngster.  In both cases an amalgam of love and personal deficits produce unhappy--sometimes even cruel--results. Thus when love is found in amalgamation with tragically induced ineptitude my reaction is sometimes hostile.

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