Where there is hatred, let us sow love. -Prayer of St. Francis
All throughout my childhood– and still now, my mom would scold me harshly for saying, ‘hate,’ because it is a, “Very strong word.” After my experience today, for the first time, I understand what she means. We hear about hate constantly in the news and in casual conversations with friends, but I’m sure I’ve never truly experienced it. Brother Jed’s message today in Northrop Mall on the U of M campus was, to me, a direct message of pure hate. This is all very complex. Overwhelming. Discouraging. Emotionally troubling. As I listened to his messages of hate toward atheists, GLBTQ community, women in general, I became so disturbed to the point of my stomach turning, legs shaking, and uncontrollable tears as I thought of all of my friends and family who fit into these categories—all who apparently deserve to go to hell. According to what I’ve learned starting in Sunday School as a pre-schooler, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. God loves everyone. And while I believe that, it literally makes me sick to my stomach to think that this man is my brother in Christ as he’s openly and genuinely calling people whores and sinners. Maybe it’s the strong optimist in me, but despite all of the hate I hear about on a daily basis, I guess I try to be ignorant to it actually existing like this. The fact that some of the students who heard his message today took it to heart and believe it is heartbreaking to me. That was not God’s love. Not at all. Fortunately, Brother Jed doesn’t hang out on the mall everyday. Unfortunately, it may have been someone’s only message/picture of what God’s love and God’s people look like… which really really crushes me. I literally wanted to hug everyone there or move everyone away from this negativity to a different spot and have a dance party or something. But even better… many students listening to Brother Jed created a positive interruption of his message by writing hopeful and positive blessings for the many people–strangers or best friends– who were discriminated against today. Love wins.
You are loved. No matter what.