Pictures like this from Charlottesville, Virginia send chills down the spine. White supremacy, white nationalism, the KKK, and the Neo-Nazis sometimes evoke a reptilian response in me. I hate the haters.
I am like the psalmist in the psalm I learned as a child.
Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.
For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.
Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?
I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. [Psalm 139:19-22 KJV].
They are evil, pure and simple! I hate them with a perfect hatred.
Then I remember the conclusion of the psalmist’s reflection immediately that strangely comes on the heels of hating God’s enemies with a perfect hatred. These last lines of Psalm 139 come only after the psalmist takes a very deep breath — a more contemplative introspective pause.
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. [Psalm 139:23-24 KJV]
Evil is not only out there. It’s also in here. In me. It’s like an infection. It’s pandemic. Comparing myself with the most egregious white supremacists leaves me among the righteous, but, as an old professor observed, comparison is the Devil’s work.
“I grew up in New Orleans, La., 50 yards from the headquarters of the Nazi party. Before I went to kindergarten, I was having to look in the window on Saturdays, and watch all these folks [shout] “Heil, Hitler!”
“And my daddy said, those are sick people. They’re white supremacists, and white supremacy is a sickness. You don’t get mad, you get smart. You never get angry with sick people, because you’ll catch their sickness. That’s what I worry about with our young people. Anger and this emotional militancy will give you ulcers, give you heart attacks.
“Don’t get mad, get smart. Your brain is the most important thing you have.”
–Andrew Young, August 16, 2017.
Click How to By-Pass Your Reptilian Brain and Restore Your Creative Powers, or Controlling Anger Before It Controls You on the American Psychological Association web site, and remember Andrew young. “Don’t get mad, get smart. Your brain is the most important thing you have.”
Or just remember the psalmist in light of the snake’s deception in the biblical myth of the Garden of Eden: “You will be like God, knowing good and evil!”
- Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, August 17, 2017.