This week I'm writing a funeral sermon. I've never done that before. It's not been high on my list of career goals. But in fact, this weekend I have two memorial services, at the same time, for two people very dear to me. I can't help but think that is very, very wrong. Oh, and not to mention, both younger than I. Doubly wrong.
I hate this. A mutual friend put it well when she said, “I hate that we are mortal and I hate cancer and I hate satan.” I know exactly what she meant. This morning, I am hating the same things.
I hate death. I hate pain. I hate that parents grieve for their child and little boys will grow up without a father. I hate that some people will never see this gorgeous fall day.
But it goes deeper than that. I hate sin that brought death into this world. I hate that I am guilty of it. I hate that, if I went looking for the source of evil in the world, I'd find my own hands stained with the fruit of the Garden of Eden. I hate anger and unforgiveness and pride. The list is endless.
It is making me realize more than ever what belongs on that list and what doesn't. It's putting into perspective what we mean when we toss around phrases like “I hate that teacher,” I hate my ex-wife,” “I hate fill-in-the-politician's name.” I can't hate any human being today.
It's an election season. There's a lot of hate flying around out there. I have my opinions. But hate? I just can't muster that up for any political candidate, any person who disagrees with me, or even, yes, any lunatic with a shotgun who barges into a movie theater. Not today. I'm occupied with hating more important things.
The real things. The roots of all this garbage. The things we're all victims and perpetrators of at the same time. Sickness and cruelty and selfishness and apathy. Those things we once rightly called “sin” but are too fashionable to label so now.
I want to spend my energy and time hating those things. I want to use my life to fight those things. Not petty battles that only give way to more skirmishes on more subjects once they are out of the way. Never hating another human being. Never. That just chips away at all of our value.
And oh yes, it's worth the fight. No matter how hard this weekend is, I know this. Satan didn't win this one. Both these men we'll miss hated him, too. They hated what he stood for. He tried, and he scored some serious hits, but he didn't win. They did. Amen.