This post is in response to something I wrote on teh Facebook.

I wrote “‎Responding to hateful bigotry with anger is like eating cake when someone calls you fat.” and a friend of mine asked me “How so?”

Well, here is my answer. (In case you are wondering, I have been driving my son’s car while my foot heals (it’s an automatic) and it has no radio. I have been spending a lot of time with my thoughts lately.)

I find that if I forget for a second that I love even the most vile of bigots, it does nothing but infect me with doubt. Doubt of the love I know I should feel, doubt in my belief in the inherent goodness of man. Doubt in my faith.

When we react to hate and ignorance with anger, we impair our ability to respond with reason. I will often say or think things I will later regret, or don’t fully mean, when I let anger speak.

My spiritual and emotional balance is as needful of attention as is my physical condition, except the “exercise” for my soul is to do that which my baser emotions do not want me to do. When I face a reversal at work, I step back and figure out what happened. When I face a threat to my sobriety, I contemplate what that cheap thrill will get me. When I hear someone say something hateful, I try to put myself in their place and progress backwards in their life, envisioning what they felt, saw, heard, or learned that caused them to be the way they are.

It is hard, particularly when I see friends or family getting hurt, but only constant vigilance and doing the mental equivalent of situps will let me continue to grow and maintain my positive outlook. It is only when I get comfortable with a particular attitude that it starts to fool me into a sense of righteousness.

It’s NOT okay to hate bigots. It’s NOT okay to hate even the worst criminal. These are the lowest of the low; irretrievably despicable, by human standards, but NOT by the standard set for me by Jesus.

As a human, I have no problem working to combat the influence of bigotry, even decrying it and calling  what it is, but once I descend into hate of the person, I fail not only myself, but the person I am hating.

I liken it to physical behavior that is not good for me, like over-eating or having a lethargic attitude toward exercise. It is easier, tastier, and more comfortable to be unhealthy, and with parallel results. So the equivalent to hating someone who behaves in a vile manner is ceding control of my diet to someone who calls me fat. In both cases I am lowering myself based on their actions.

So that is “How so”. I’m sure others are capable of channeling this anger healthfully. I can’t. I have to have faith that everyone out there is either a) doing what they think is right or b) aren’t competent to make the judgment between right and wrong.