Response to those who hate us

McLaren, in Naked Spirituality, has some good remarks about how we tend to treat our opponents and how Jesus would like for us to treat them,

“When we are wounded by others, we’re tempted to dehumanize and demonize them by labeling them with words like, ‘communist’, ‘imperialist,’ ‘evil,’ ‘insane,’ ‘heretic,’ ‘fundamentalist,’ ‘liberal,’ or ‘infidel.’ Ironically, by turning them into subhuman monsters in our own minds, we also empower them, making them larger than life and intensifying our own anxiety about them. No wonder Jesus taught that our first response should instead be to pray for them and to bless them. In so doing, we turn them back from threatening monsters into what they really are: little human beings like us, human beings with a problem, fear, rage, hate, anxiety, ignorance, misinformation, misguided values, inappropriate habits, harmful training, insecurity, or whatever.

By praying for them, by blessing them, we look beyond their faults and see their need, and we seek to help them with their need. Rather than getting caught up ourselves in the deadly cycle of violence and counter-violence, we join Desmond Tutu and many other courageous spiritual leaders on a better path, the path of peace and reconciliation.” (137-38)


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