Sorry for not posting much last week. I was reading an incredible book that I couldn’t put down. I recently joined our church’s Mom’s Book Club and the first book I was assigned was a doosey. We only needed to read the first 60 pages in two weeks, but I read the whole book front to cover in three days. What a journey it was.
The book is “Left to Tell” by Immaculee Ilibagiza. Immaculee is a survivor of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She story of faith, survival, sorrow and forgiveness is a must read by anyone of any faith. Despite the horror she lived through (and the demons that still haunt her) she has opened her heart to God’s love and is working to forgive those that brutally killed her family, friends and neighbors.
Since reading this book, I have been reflecting a great deal on the acts of forgiveness, love and hate. While the events in Rwanda seem far away and so unreal, those with hate in their hearts can be anywhere and many of them are people near us. An issue Immaculee struggles with in the book is: can you have justice and still forgive and love for those that persecute you? Her answer is yes.
In our country, not many of us are being persecuted. Yes, we all have our daily struggles and crosses to bear, but 1 million are not being hunted like savages just because of their ethic background (like Rwanda). But still it seems that even “small issues” (in comparison to genocide) turn people against each other. I personally feel that our country is widening our divides on almost every issue it seems and if we look for middle ground, we are judged as being “sell outs” or weak.
Even in the area of food and food production there is extreme divide and feelings of hate toward the “other.” Tim and I have come to know a wonderful person that has been a victim of hate crimes because of the way her family chooses to care for their farm animals. Every time I hear her speak, I reflect on the persecutor and what must be in their heart. This family is kind and gives the utmost to their animals, yet is a victim of hate. I know of another family that for awhile would not allow their children to get off the bus at their house because of the death threats their family was receiving, all because of the way the chose to raise their livestock. I personally know that this family also believes in quality care for their animals.
I believe it is perfectly okay to have passion for your beliefs and stick true to your values all while not hating those that see things different than you. Often hate is manifested by fear and mistrust. Those that encourage hate, often use the tactic of blaming an intangible thing (ie a company, religion, etc). This way it takes out the human element. It is much easier to hate a “thing” than a person with a family, hopes and dreams.
So the next time you witness hate, take a step back and dig deep in your heart. Is hate really the answer? Or can we solve some of the world’s biggest problems, not with hate, but with more love, understanding and compassion? I think we can.
Zweber Farms is a 4th generation family operated organic dairy. We are proud Organic Valley farmer members and sell our milk under that label. We also specialize in sustainably raised beef, pork and chicken and sell it directly to customers in Minnesota.Visit our website to learn more, www.zweberfarms.com. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitterand YouTube.