It has been said that you aren’t born to hate but taught to hate. I was born into a system that taught me to hate. I learned to hate the LGBTQ community, judge people that had less than me, and treat women like sex objects. Hate was subtly poured into me from an early age through fear of differences. I learned to dehumanize people and develop a strong hate towards the LGBTQ community, different religious groups, and people of color. This strong hate came from the way I felt about myself. I hated who I was. When I did try to confront it, people would justify it as that is just the way guys are–or even more recently, as locker room talk. It is bullshit and I am going to call bullshit. I was a participant. I was racist, full of hate and fear. I had so much hate in me towards gay people that I wanted to hurt them. I looked down on black people as less than me. I treated women as objects.
Perhaps the worst part is that we did all of this behind the “Christian” label. We were the holy ones, the righteous ones. It wasn’t until I fully realized how screwed up that I am, that I found God’s love. God is love, God made all people, God is bigger than our small minds can even come close to imagining. I must be willing to call out the system that taught me to be prejudice, to judge and to live in fear. I have learned that the same system that taught me to hate was also killing me. Hate does that, you cannot hate and love at the same time. I am sick and tired of the way this system oppresses people in an attempt to justify its own insecurities.
I have experienced freedom through love. Once you taste freedom, you want everyone to experience the same freedom. Freedom isn’t free; it requires sacrifice. Sacrifice is required to stand against a system that oppresses all people. I cannot sit by and watch our country, the world, operate under a dehumanizing system that judges people based on their color, sexual orientation, religion, outward appearance, money, etc.–not on the content of their character.
My challenge is to not become bitter at the people stuck in the system that oppressed me and continues to oppress so many others. This does no good except cause you to do the same thing that you came out of. You are still judging someone as less than you. You are putting yourself higher than someone else. That is the system. In order to be free from it, we have to let go of it. We must choose to operate in love– not a mushy love, but an unconditional love that chooses to see the person and not define them by the system they are a part of. We must fight the ideology that has created this system, not the people that are slaves to it. As true nonviolent practitioners, we must be willing to examine the areas in ourselves where we still follow the system.
In order to free others, we must become free.