Wednesday, April 27, 2011

At Least Try Not to Hate

The Catholic Times' writer on spirituality discusses a common problem that is especially troubling for those desiring to live according to the teachings of Christianity. What do you do when loving another person seems impossible? He mentions the case of a young woman worker who came to him for help. "My boss at work," she explained, "is a woman I hate with a passion.  She  makes use of what I do with great ease and pleasure, but whenever I  go to her with a question, the only answer I get is "I don't know." And any time she does me a small favor she tells everybody in the office and makes me feel cheap. I find it difficult to sleep and I'm depressed. And I feel I can't quit because I got the job with the help of someone."

The writer let her cry. When she finally gained composure he asked her "How difficult are the working conditions that brought you to  hate your boss?" Her choked response was  "I hate her so much I want to kill her. I know it's wrong to hate like that, so I've tried to find her good points. As a woman to have  a position of authority in the company shows that she is very capable, doesn't it? That she has the ability I don't have made me jealous and is also  part of the problem."

We say the opposite of hate is love. And as followers of Jesus we know we have to love and not hate under any circumstances, which sometimes brings stress into our lives.The writer remembers a time when he had a similar problem to that of the young woman, and went to see an older member of the community to ask for help.  He was  reminded  that this problem was something  he had difficulty with in his confession for some time. Repeatedly he had heard that if you if can't love, at least try not to hate. In trying not to hate we may still hate, but we hate less, and over time it begins to diminish and we may then experience the beginnings of love. We sense something has changed, something more  fulfilling than hate has happened deep inside us.