Sally relates an experience she had in a seminary class given by her teacher, Dr. Smith. Dr. Smith was known for his elaborate object lessons. One particular day, Sally walked into the seminary and knew they were in for a fun day. On the wall was a big target and on a nearby table were many darts. Dr. Smith told the students to draw a picture of someone that they disliked or someone who had made them angry. Then they would place the pictures up on the target and throw darts at them. One classmate drew a picture of the person who had stolen a boyfriend. Another friend drew a picture of a bratty little brother. Sally drew a picture of a disloyal former friend, putting a great deal of detail into her drawing, even drawing pimples on the face.
The class pinned their drawings up on the target, lined up and began throwing darts. There was much laughter and high spirits as the students threw their darts, some of them throwing with such force that the target was ripping apart. Dr. Smith asked the students to return to their seats. Dr. Smith began removing the target from the wall. Underneath the target was a picture of Jesus.
A complete hush fell over the room as each student viewed the mangled picture of Jesus; holes and jagged marks covered his face and his eyes were pierced. Dr. Smith said only these words: “Just as you did to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
Sometimes we think it’s safe to hate, to revile, to despise and demonize. What is the old Alice Roosevelt quote? “If you have nothing good to say, come sit by me.” We revel in our hatred sometimes, directing darts of outrage at our targets with the heady force of self-righteousness.
But turn the picture over. Look more honestly at the effects of your hatred. Who are you really hurting?
Your friend and fellow minister,
Pastor Steve Savides