Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The One We Love to Hate

Judas Iscariot is the most hated man in Christian history. Dante placed him in the lowest circle of hell in his Inferno. Rogue historians have tried to exonerate him, but he is still seen by most Christians as the closest thing to the devil incarnate ... short of the Antichrist himself.

Hate is an interesting emotion. I must confess that my anger has drifted into the netherworld of hate at times. Not the intense hatred that Republicans and Democrats express for each other these days ... but close.

When I examine my own hatred honestly, I must admit that the qualities I hate in others are the qualities I refuse to acknowledge in my own soul. That is how I can see those characteristics so clearly in others. It takes one to know one. Hate is a form of self-delusion.

In order to identify myself as a good person, I must identify people "out there" who are the bad people. In order convince myself that I am a loving person, I have to be able to point to those who are hateful persons. The great Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung called it the shadow.

The shadow is our hidden self, the dark side of our soul. It holds those characteristics that we won't admit about ourselves, those qualities that are so inconsistent with our self-image that we reject them with every emotion we can conjure up. Unable to acknowledge them in ourselves, we project these dark qualities onto others. We vilify and dehumanize people, calling them names and demonizing them. But the truth is they are us. Our enemies are the incarnations of our own hearts.

To get back to the two political parties, what the Republicans hate about the Democrats are the qualities they cannot admit about themselves, and vice-versa. "Independent" folks like me who stand self-righteously above the two party oligarchy are no better than anyone else. What we hate about the two major parties is what we won't admit about ourselves.

"We have seen the enemy and he is us," as Pogo said. That is why Jesus told us to love our enemies. It is the only way we can love ourselves and love our neighbor.... and love God. We cannot love the Lord with all of our hearts if part of our hearts hates others.

What do you hate? Whatever it is, it is the part of you that is reflected in your enemies' eyes. Perhaps you hate those who hate, those who engage in "hate speech" and hateful actions? They represent the hatred in your own soul.

Do you hate Judas? He is you. The apostles knew this instinctively. When Jesus announced at the Last Supper that one of them would betray him, they all responded, "Lord, is it I?" They knew who the real enemy was.

As the old gospel song says, "Not my sister, not my brother, but it's me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer. Not the preacher, not the sinner, but it's me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer."

2 comments:

  1. Powerful, and true Marshall, It's me, O Lord

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  2. I've always thought it was silly to hate Judas. If he hadn't turned in Jesus, he (in theory) may not have been crucified and died for our sins. At the time, sure he was a terrible bad guy, but in hindsight, after the resurrection I'm thankful.

    Anyway, I enjoyed your commentary about how our negative projection is our "shadow," but I don't know how is projects into politics.

    I mean some reasons a Republican would loathe a Democrat is their incessant desire for big government with lots of spending and high taxes. I don't see a correlation with my inner-self there.

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