Preamble: if you don't consider yourself a Christian, please read on...there's stuff in this post for you too.
A question was brought up in the comments for my 12.24.07 post as it relates to Christians, "isn't it wrong to hate?"
If it is wrong to hate then God is a sinner.
The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong. Psalm. 5:5
The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates. Psalm 11:5
You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. Psalm 45:7 (This passage is quoted in Hebrews and is attributed to words God Himself speaks to His Son.)
There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him... Prov. 6:16
Obviously, the Christian must acknowledge that hatred in and of itself is not sin otherwise they make their God into a sinner. A sampling of some of the Wisdom books of the Old Testament reveal that righteous men must hate certain things if they are truly righteous:
I hate those who cling to worthless idols; I trust in the LORD. Ps. 31:6
Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Ps. 97:10
I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Ps. 119:104
I hate double-minded men, but I love your law. Ps. 119:113
...and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path. Ps. 119:128
I hate and abhor falsehood but I love your law. Ps. 119:163
Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? Ps. 139:21
To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Prov. 8:13
The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked bring shame and disgrace. Prov. 13:5
What you hate is an indicator of what you love. If you love truth, you will hate lies. If you love righteousness, you will hate evil. If you love God, you will hate the works of the devil.
Conversely, if you love lies, you'll hate truth. If you love darkness, you'll hate light. If you love wicked deeds, you'll hate those who live uprightly. Because of the polarization of Good vs. Evil you can't get through life without hating something. To truly say you hate nothing is to admit you are completely unprincipled. To hate nothing also means you love nothing. Christians shouldn't be so quick to pretend there is nothing in this world worth hatred. To someone with their brain turned on these Holy Joes only expose themselves to be a liar, a hypocrite or absolutely unprincipled. Or all of the above.
It is a false righteousness to pretend that you don't hate anyone or anything. These pretenders won't even use the word hate itself in conversation and will chastise you for doing so. They prove themselves to not be disciples of the God they claim to follow by this pretense at perfect equanimity. God is Biblically defined as the personification of the principle of love. "God is love". This is why God hates evil. "All who hate me love death" Prov. 8:36. He hates evil because it brings in destruction and death. God's people, if they are truly participating in His mindset and spirit will also hate evil. They won't be afraid to openly state that fact either. They won't pretend there isn't something out there worthy of hatred.
What you do with your hatred is where sin may come in. Hatred is not justification to do wrong. Psalm 4:4, "In your anger do not sin" gives a guiding principle. Anger is also not a sin. If we define all anger as being sinful then, again, we condemn our own God to be a sinner. What you do with anger or hatred can be sin if you use your anger or hatred to justify doing a wrong.
This is where Christians seem to get tangled up far too often. They too easily and quickly condemn negative feelings. Feelings are not something we can necessarily control. In both the spiritual and the tangible realm, we are held accountable for what we do. How you feel should not be the sole dictator of what you do. You are supposed to apply reason and self-control to your deeds because this is where the accountability comes in. You get to choose how to act despite how you feel. Or according to how you feel. It is reason guided by principle which a self-controlled individual will use to determine their actions. Your feelings may or may not line up with principled reason. It would be wise to put feelings in their proper place. What would that place be?
We need to think of feelings as simply a barometer. Bad feelings are telling us that something is wrong. Something is wrong in our environment, in someone else, or in ourselves. Those bad feelings motivate us to examine the situation in order to rectify what we are doing, or to recognize what someone else is doing and determine whether or not it is time to remove ourselves from the situation or person. Bad feelings do not mean we are automatically bad for having them! Bad feelings are information. Use them for that. Use your anger or hatred to motivate you to make a bad situation better. Not to justify doing wrong.
The Bible consistently condemns behaviors. I do not see the Bible condemning feelings. As Christians, we would do well to not condemn feelings either. Be they found in ourselves or in others. What determines our characters are our choices. We can choose to do right even if we are having to battle through difficult feelings in the process. That ability is what sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom.
I'm not going to go into the "hate the sin, love the sinner" thing because it is too cliche' and is too often used to apply misplaced compassion onto perps, to keep people feeling obliged to stay in relationships with evil people, to excuse sins, or simply to sound righteous. In principle I agree with the statement. But we very often fail in the application. I do agree that the more we are able to separate out what we hate from the person themselves, the easier it is to not make our hatred about personalities and make it about principles. This helps us to stay on the right track in our actions. It helps us refrain from vengeance. Separating yourself from an evil narcissist is not vengeance. Be sure you know that. Holding evil people accountable for their actions is not vengeance. Know that too.
I know that I have written yet another post addressing Christians. I think that what I've said can be helpful for anyone though. Good people of whatever persuasion all seem to get pretzeled up into similar knots over these issues. Good people worry about having bad feelings toward others. Good people are concerned about doing right by others and so question themselves more than they question the evil doer. Good people can get befuddled over whether or not their anger is justified and/or evil in itself. So I hope if you aren't a Christian you still see there are useful truths that apply no matter your religion.
Feelings in themselves are morally neutral. What you do with them is where morality or immorality comes into play.
In the same comment this question was also posited:
What is it about Christians being so afraid to register legitimate anger and hatred in general...?
I suspect the answer to this may be complicated, so I won't try to address this at length. A problem I do see is that much of Christianity has substituted the real Gospel with a social "gospel of nice". This false gospel is mostly fueled and propagated by pop psychology. It is psychology which has placed far too much importance and emphasis on feelings to the exclusion of examination of character and the power of personal choice and responsibility. Suddenly, everyone else is now held responsible for an individual's feelings. The new "sin" of our age is when we "hurt" someone else's feelings. With this new commandment everyone is able to lay claim to victim hood while avoiding being held accountable for their own behaviors.
Pop psychology is being blamed by more astute observers for the rise of narcissism in our country. I think they are onto something. Pop psychology has also corrupted Christian thought. Other thoughtful and well-educated people in the field of psychology have called psychology a religion. In many ways it is a religion that is antithetical to Christianity. Attempts to meld the two only robs Christianity of its power to change lives.
...keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen. 1 Tim. 6:20-21 KJV
Monday, January 07, 2008
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This is an excellent post (again), Anna. My religious upbringing gave the 'OK' to 'hate the sin but not the sinner'. What wasn't explained to us was how that played out. Most of us probably went like lambs to the slaughter based on 'hating the sin' but still waiting on the N hand and foot. (WWJD? Lordee....Do you know how much I HATE that damn bumper sticker?) It wasn't clarified and no one asked the next right questions. The idea of shunning another person, judging them, confronting them.....much less hating them...was simply out of the question for GoodChristians. Bah!
What just kills me now....is that I DID hate her and people like her....and I felt bad about it. It never even crossed my mind to go 'no contact'. Yet, the church would have sanctioned it for me not to hang around criminals, child molesters, thieves, and drug addicts. But, Nmom stole my life, was emotionally incestuous,was addicted to all the attention, and set me up for slave labour. No difference that I can see. Granted, it was mainly my mother and 'going no contact' isn't quite as clear as one's neighbor....and I had gotten to the point that I could call her on her bad behaviour and lies (up to a point) but HATE her? Huh...funny thing...for years, I had hate-filled, rageful dreams about her. Hmmmmmm. Hullo? I know why now. Because I HATE her! Imagine that.
I have no feelings of revenge.....I just hate her...hate how I feel when I've had contact with her....hate what she does.....hate who she is. Period.
Yeah...good stuff, Anna. Thank you.
Still struggling to reconcile hating my Nmother with Honor thy Father and Mother commandment.
I was raised that it was OK to shun/hate parents who tortured and physically abused their offspring (to the point of numerous beatings, sexual molestation, etc)
HOWEVER, all of Nmother's actions towards me, including corporal punishment were all metted out according to biblical priciples (in her mind) and i was forbidden to question anything she did or else be labelled as "rebellious, an ingrate, going to hell"
No, all of the emotional abuse was simply her being human and me being sub-human, a lesser creature not worthy of the same common decency she would show a stranger.
The verbal beatings i took from her on a weekly basis (didn't happen every day) were justified. She had to CRUSH my spirit in order to quash any ounce of rebellion against her and her decrees.
I hate that she thinks she will be richly rewarded in heaven for all of "HER SUFFERINGS" (aka. having to put up with such a mentally disturbed child - its all my problem you know).
I hate how she always must have the last word and NEVER apologizes to anyone for anything.
I hate how she lies, manipulates, and uses emotional blackmail to shift blame off of her shoulders and onto her victims.
I hate how I will never be able to get closure from her b/c with her its always war, war, WAR. She always has to be fighting someone over something. She doesn't want peace or a peaceful resolution. No negotiation. Its her way or the highway.
I hate that i drew the short straws when they were handing out mothers and ended up with such a selfish, consummed b*tch for a mother.
I hate how her N has permeated every facet of my life and how my days are spent wondering what the hell is wrong with me b/c she has disowned and rejected her children.
I hate how she robbed me of my childhood, teenage hood and now my young adulthood by offering nothing in the way of support as a loving parent should.
I hate feeling lost, alone, abandoned and orphaned.
I hate her guts and I hate hating her guts.
Thank you for addressing these issues that so many of us have wrestled with. After I posed those questions, I was on Alice Miller's website and much of what I found there dovetails with what you presented.
Listen to this (from the above website):
"If our parents have treated us badly, possibly sadistically, and we are able to face up to the fact, then of course we will experience feelings of hatred. . . The full extent of the mistreatment inflicted upon a child cannot be dealt with all at once. Coming to terms with it is an extended process in which aspects of the mistreatment are allowed into our consciousness one after the other, thus rekindling the feeling of hatred. But in such cases, hatred is not dangerous. It is a logical consequence of what happened to us, a consequence only fully perceived by the adult, whereas the child was forced to tolerate it in silence for years."
Later she says, "What kind of person would I be if I could not react, temporarily at least, to injustice, presumption, evil, or arrogant idiocy with feelings of anger or rage? Would that not be an amputation of my emotional life? . . . Though our parents, teachers, or priests may have taught us to practice such self-amputation, we must ultimately realize that it is in fact very dangerous. There can be no doubt that we are then the victims of severe mutilation."
And listen to this:
"If someone attacks us on the street, we are hardly likely to give him a hug and thank him for the blows he has dealt us. But children almost always do precisely that when their parents are cruel to them, because they cannot live without the illusion of being loved by them. The adult has to learn to forsake the infant position and live with reality. Once you have learned to love the child you once were you cannot love his tormentors at the same time. . . It is only by way of self-delusion that individuals who have finally understood the children they once were can love the people who were cruel to them."
Wow . . .
What did you ultimately decide to do with respect to the request for an interview by the Oprah magazine??
Thank you for addressing this. When I was growing up (50's) we were taught by the Catholic church that THINKING a thing was the same, sin-wise, as doing it. So, if you thought about killing someone, you were guilty in your mind of murder, and had to confess it as a mortal sin in confession.
Talk about brainwashing - guess those kids that were being abused by priests weren't supposed to be angry at their molesters either. Some days, as much as I don't like to pick on one religion specifically, I just can't think of an organization that has worked as hard at destroying children as they have.
Fortunately, I came to my senses in my 30's - but people my age are now dealing with older (and sicker) narcissists, and boy, it is hard to get rid of that catholic guilt!
Thanks so much for the quotes from the Bible - no wonder catholic church didn't let us read the bible - we had a catechism where they answered the questions for us - you get different answers in the bible! Imagine that!!!!!
Anonymous @ 4:26 a.m.,
I find your comment quite compelling for reasons I won't go into. Have you ever read the book by Chiniquy (a Catholic priest) titled "The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional"? It was written in 1875. Quite eye-opening about the subject. He was an honest priest. He also brings up the subject of children.
I hope you notice that I did separate out feelings from thoughts. We are held accountable for our thought life by the Bible. A fleeting thought through one's mind is a temptation. Temptation doesn't become sin until you grab onto it. When you start holding onto the thought, fondling it, cherishing it, it becomes a part of you. Thoughts dictate behavior which is why we must learn to control our thoughts. And why we are held accountable for them by God. But feelings are separate from thoughts. How do we know this? Because we can use rationality and apply logic in order to act contrary to our feelings.
Proverbs 23:7 says "as he thinks in his heart, so is he." Our thoughts define who we are. Our character. This is because what we choose to think about influences our behavior. Notice it doesn't say, "as he feels in his heart, so is he." Yes, feelings can influence our thoughts. Ultimately, though, we are expected by God and man to make sure rational thought makes the decision..not the feeling.
But remember that a fleeting thought is not a sin. It is what you decide to do with that thought that matters. Dismiss it? Nurture it? The nurtured thought becomes your very own. It will either elevate or corrupt you. But we all get to choose whether to keep it or not.
Somewhere, sometime and somehow -- I acquired the idea that hate is inseparable from fear. I know I deal much better with Narcissists when I am clear-minded, purposeful and my security -- or sense thereof --- is not vulnerable to them. So -- whatever it takes to cultivate those conditions.
I'm pretty sure the Lord views cherishing hate in our hearts as not beneficial to us. Operative word being "cherish" of course.
You can look at hate two ways...action or emotion. The action version of hate is evil. Pure and simple. I wrestled with 'hate' for awhile. I would say I hated her...only I don't hate her, I hate what she did and does to me. I was talking to my therapist about it, and she told me to 'feel it'. FEEL everything. It's normal, and part of the process of healing. As hard as it was, I did feel like I hated her for awhile. But now I'm too the point where I don't hate her, I just hate what she did to me. I never 'acted' on that hate. I didn't do anything to her or anyone else. It was both part of the grieving and part of the healing. Like when a loved one dies...we hear a person say sometimes they hate God...even some of the most devout Godly people. When in actuality, they say it out of grief, unfairness, injustice. Time passes, and they come to love God again, most often times.
I don't feel bad about anything I felt or do feel as I am going through this process. What was done to me was NOT normal. What I am feeling in reaction to this, IS. So, no it is not wrong to hate, as long as you don't live in hate, or become bitter and angry over it. If it's an 'emotional reaction', as my therapist said...it's good.
Very well said. I heartily agree.
And that, of course, brings us full circle to the fact that it is okay to hate, and not to forgive, the people who have inflicted such terrible wrongs against us.
Ah, the whole "forgiveness" thing.
And that, of course, brings us full circle to the fact that it is okay to hate, and not to forgive, the people who have inflicted such terrible wrongs against us.
This probably has been dealt with before on the blog, I'm not sure.
But is it OK to "not forgive"? I've always thought that there is a way in which you can forgive BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN you have to reconcile. And that doesn't mean you don't hate what they've done or that you don't STILL hate it. And that doesn't mean that you have to go up to their face and tell them you forgive them. Because of course they will convolute it. What me??? I've done nothing that needs to be forgiven.
Isn't it something you work out between you and God? A way in which you give up the right to hold it against them and demand justice or recompense from that person? A way in which you put them into God's hands for ultimate judgment because His judgment is perfect? I don't know. . .
What I do know is that people always assume that if you forgive someone it is the equivalent of saying that what was done didn't matter or that it is okay. This is hardly the case. What was done will never be OK and you don't have to pretend otherwise.
But that didn't stop Jesus from forgiving us while we were yet sinners. Or forgiving Judas who betrayed him.
So what then exactly is forgiveness?
I did a post on forgiveness on July 16, 2007. You can find it in the archives.
Your thoughts and questions on this subject in your comment are on the right track. Forgiveness is not supposed to be cheap grace handed out to non-repentant abusers.
This might sound ridiculous to do but maybe it will help some of you as much as it is helping me.
When I realized how much I have been brainwashed over the years....how words, Bible verses, sayings etc. have been used as 'tools' to trigger my responses and actions (by Nmom)....I am taking the time to drag out both dictionary...(a comprehensive one)....and various versions of the Bible. Wow. For example, look up the word 'hatred' in the dictionary. I can't believe how many different definitions there are. That word (just as one example) has as many variations as does the word 'love'. (Anyone out there been screwed over by the word 'love'?....Yeah....you'll get my drift. I found the word 'enmity' to fit much better than 'hatred'. I won't go into all this now....but see if it helps to repattern and redefine your thinking.
Same with Bible verses. I found so much more LIFE in branching out....studying what ELSE any particular verse means. (Other than as taught by Nmom...)....asking God what HE means. Another 'wow'.
There is a whole world of 'otherness' out there. I still have the NmomBlinders....but not so much. I am in the process of questioning EVERYTHING....jotting it down if I have a 'niggly' thought...and taking little bits of time to look again, look it up, ask myself and God that question mark I have about it. I swallowed so much of it, hook, line, and sinker, because there was just enough truth in how I was taught that I didn't question.
Just to back you up Anna, here's one from fellow ACON, Kathy Krajco:
Sorry, your question got lost in the shuffle for a couple days. I did the interview. I have no idea when the article may be coming out. I haven't asked. I checked the January issue and didn't see it. If and when the article comes out, I'll let ya'll know.
Thank you, Anna. Please do let us know when the article in "O" Magazine comes out.
I'm interested to see what sort of track the questioning took. Was it more focused on your background with your N mom and what you came out of or was it focused on the blog and how it is helping people? Was it an article on you or on narcissism in general? (I realize that all of this will be answered when I see the article.)
But, I am also very curious as to how they found out about you??? Is there someone from the Oprah magazine who actually grew up with a narcissistic mom and happened upon your blog and found it helpful? If you don't mind, let us know the particulars of how they found you.
Thanks . . . I'm glad you did it and I will be looking forward to seeing it!!
WOW! I am a Christian and your words are so true!! Love it, Anna! I so agree with these last two paragraphs!! And I love the clear teaching on hate and and anger here too. Too many Christians do believe that to feel or experience either of these is somehow sin or an indication of being unforgiving, especially if its against a parent. I wrote a post a little while ago where I explained that my anger does not indicate unforgiveness, that my anger was a justifiable anger because of what my narcisstic mother did to me. Too many Christians combine the two with bitterness also thrown into the mix. This new Christian social 'gospel of nice' is so damaging ... no wonder pastors don't preach repentence, or use the word 'sin' ... and wrongly teach that we are to love at the expense of our own souls. Well said, Anna! May God be glorified!
I just read some other comments and can so relate their posts ... they knew my mother too! I know their pain, their hate, I GET IT! Especially with 'krl' and 'anonymous.'
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