I’ve been struggling lately with feelings of emptiness and hollowness. Feelings of being disconnected and inadequate. Why won’t God answer me? Why won’t God reveal His love in a very tangible way? This has been very difficult for me to acknowledge, but the problem, in spite of my claims otherwise, is there is no room of God in my heart. It’s too full of anger and hate. Yes, anger and hate. And along with anger and hate comes fear.

I don’t know where these emotions come from, but they are real – they are strong. The world is full of hate and anger and fear. Liberals hate/fear conservatives, conservatives hate/fear liberals. Republicans hate/fear democrats, democrats hate/fear republicans. The Right hates/fears the Left and the Left hates/fears the Right. Anglos hate/fear African-Americans and Hispanics and anybody who isn’t like them or who doesn’t speak English. And everybody hates/fears Anglos. Rich hate/fear the poor, the poor hate/fear the rich. Hate and anger and fear, in spite of our protests, are very much a part of our society. We may not say we hate or fear someone or something, but our actions speak so much louder than words.

As a Christian, I have often been told to “hate the sin, but love the sinner.” That’s what God does. That what Jesus would do. But the difference is I can’t separate the “sin” from the “sinner.” When I see someone who I classify as a “sinner,” I don’t see that person as a human in need of grace, I see that person as the “sin.” The outcome of hate, anger and fear is intolerance, injustice, condemnation, a lack of compassion, a lack of understanding, distrust. All of this goes against what Jesus was talking about when He said that we are first of all to love God with our entire being and THEN we are to love others as ourselves. Last night I was going through in my head a list of things I “hate,” and it shocked me. Hate sometimes may be too strong a word, but there are people and things that I don’t necessarily want to be around. Some may be little things, some are large things. But I saw myself in all of them. I “hate” people who are selfish and self-absorbed, the very traits I see in myself. So, to the extent that I love others as I love myself, I also hate others as I hate myself, or at least what I see in myself (or most times fail to see in myself).

Where I go from here with this knowledge I don’t know. God is Love – perfect love. And I pray that God will give in me a heart of flesh, not of stone. I want Him to be my God and I want to be His. Perfect love casts out fear. When your heart is full of God, there is no room for hate, and anger, and fear.

His peace.