Aunt Lucille (we called her Ceecee) did not love her flock of chickens but she hated possums, coons and chicken hawks. She lived to get a bead on one of these predators with her old 22 and send them to possum purgatory, coon crematory or chicken hawk hell. She was proud of her hate and bragged about it, but she never expressed any affection for the chickens. Isn’t that just like some people: hating the opposition more than loving their own ideas?
I read an ancient oriental parable about two young monks who had vowed poverty as well as celibacy—in fact, they promised never to touch a woman. On their first day outside the monastery, they were met with monsoon rains. As they sloshed through a nearby village, they saw a beautifully dressed young damsel distressed because the road she had to cross was so muddy. Without a word, one of the brothers picked her up and carried her across, putting her down on the other side.
They walked on in silence for about a mile. Finally, the other brother said, “Hey, you violated your vow. We promised never to touch a woman and you picked that girl up and held her close all the way across the road.” The brother replied, “Yes, that is true. But I put her down on the other side of the road about a mile back. You, however, still carry her.” Isn’t that just like some people: making judgments about others based on appearances while their own hearts are impure?
Aesop told a story about a sleek and well-fed mastiff dog, living as a pet behind his master’s house. An old patchy and skinny wolf approached his yard and said, “How do you remain so fat and healthy? I have had to work very hard this year for just the minimum of food. Where do you get your meals?” The dog said, “Oh, those humans in that house yonder feed me regularly, really good food. In fact, I have a few ribs left from my dinner that I would be willing to share if you care to indulge.” Creeping into the lighted yard, the wolf said, “Absolutely, but what is that shiny thing about your neck that trails off to that peg in the ground?” The dog said, “Oh, that is a chain. The humans keep me chained up back here. See I am a watchdog and…” The wolf replied over his shoulder as he crept back into the woods, “Goodbye.” Isn’t that dog just like some people: those attached to their own comfortable place so much that they are captives of it or, isn’t that wolf just like those who risk all for personal freedom?
William Hazlitt said we cannot hate anyone that we truly know. And, in Bible language anyway, “know” is related to “love” as in “Adam knew his wife and they brought forth young.” We cannot really know people through social media alone. Real knowledge of others requires relationships—the kind that lead to love. To know, know, know you is to love, love, love you and…….”