So who do you not like? You could answer with a name. I could do the same in my life. If we want to use the word ‘fault’ it probably is their fault, and maybe they started it, that’s even better.
Have you noticed how easy it is to dislike, and maybe hate people these days? Internet media gives us pictures and videos of people who need correction, and it’s always their fault, and they started it. We can correct the whole world, and feel good about ourselves. There is a popular video game called “Hatred” where we can act this out in virtual reality, and not liking other people is the basic plot of most movies these days. We can pay money in a theatre to watch the ballet of pay-back.
In October of 2018, some protesters with different ideas collided in the same space. It’s not hard to see the dislike:
If you watch the video, you will soon start to dislike someone, and it really is their fault, and you didn’t start it. I’m not choosing sides in the argument; someone really does not like someone else, possibly hates them, and feels free to act out any abuse. That’s how people live in our civil societies these days.
The problem with righteous blaming is that we never have to fix the problem. If we can blame enough, if it really is their fault, we are free to pour more abuse on them. We are not wrong to be wrong, in that case, and we never have to be kind.
But really, what is ‘the problem’ if it’s their fault and they started it?
My biggest problem is always me. I can hurt myself and wreck my life, and feel good about it, if I can just shift the blame. My best opportunity is also me. Blaming and faulting other people is now so widely accepted, that self-help sites and books are trying to help us with that problem. It’s not all about tuning-up your lawnmower or programming your microwave. We need help, before we wreck our own lives, and our families, and our communities and churches.
Not liking other people, and feeling good about it, is am epidemic now; we are all drink that poison so easily. That seems to be politics in most countries. Who knew the Internet could do that to us? The site Wikihow, that tells us how to do things, now tells us how to live with people that we don’t like. We have come that far.
The advice looks good to me, and buried in all the ideas is “Kill them with kindness. Be positive with them by treating them like you would people you do like. Greet them warmly and smile. Aim to be as pleasant and cordial as you can.” I like that.
That was in the Bible first. We need to like people who are not like-able, and I believe there is one simple way to do that. See yourself being kind to that impossible person. I heard a sermon about this last Sunday, and the truth dawned on me.
They might never change, but I will.
The desire of a man is his kindness: and a poor man is better than a liar. (Proverbs 19: 22)
If I had to care for some old dog, that I didn’t like, I would feed it, and take it for walks, and maybe even pet it some times. That happened to me once. I was house sitting for a few weeks and the house came with a big stinky Saint Bernard. I did my duty to that annoying thing, and after a few days, we became good friends.
It really is that simple, we teach ourselves. I watched myself being kind, and I learned how to be kind. The young woman in the video is teaching herself how to hate, and that lesson will not unwind easily. I’m sure it will stay with her and affect other relationships.
There is one missing part to the story of the big dog that I learned to like. A few weeks later, that annoying animal died of cancer. She was dying when I cared for her, and I didn’t know. I am so glad now that I only have memories of me being her friend, and I’m not wrestling with any guilt. Some damage can never be put right.
And you get to live longer if you learn this lesson, really.
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.” (1 Peter 3: 9 and 10)