The Tragedy of Hatred

This week a guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. was killed by a white supremacist/neo nazi named James von Brunn. Von Brunn is 88 years old, and has hosted a website for years that I have checked and found filled with the all-too-typical irrational hatred found in such sites and publications. Twisting the Bible, ignoring the truth of history, and completely missing the love of God, these people and their organizations thrive on hate...hate for all who are different from themselves. They hate all ethnic groups, all other races, other nations...I believe they are like the character "Gollum" in J.R.R. Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings. Gollum is actually a man named Smeagle, who has been seduced by the power of one of the rings which exist in the mythical world of hobbits and faries.

Gollum was once an ordinary person, but he came into contact with something which appealed to the basest and most horrible parts of his makeup. It promised power if he simply put himself underneath its thrall, and he does just that. The longer he keeps the ring, the more tragically monsterish he becomes. When we encounter him in the book and movies, he is a pale twisted figure who is only filled with the desire to have the power the ring offers. He will do anything to possess the ring and its power. His humanity is lost.

People like Von Brunn are similar to Gollum. They rapidly descend into less-and-less of a human form. Von Brunn's son tells us he destroyed his wife, his children, and all about him who longed for normalcy. Twisted beyond recognition as a rational and loving human, people who give their lives to hate descend into a living hell of their own making. And...they desperately attempt to make everyone with whom they have contact into images of themselves. As they continue on their journey to destruction, they finally remake the very image of God, Himself, into their own image.

The great tragedy of such persons is that they totally miss the reality of our creation. We are designed to be children of Light...Hope...Peace...Love! And, their legacy is one of sorrow and tears for all about them. They finally descend into a demonic form clad in human skin.

The ultimate tragedy is that they miss totally the forgiving and loving nature of God. And, as people so far from God, they become pitiable creatures able only to live in darkness...afraid of The Light.

Our call is not to hate these persons, but to pity them and to pray for them. Once in a while one of these persons is able to wrest themselves from their destructive path and look honestly into themselves and into the face of the Watiing Father, God, who waits hoping for every child gone astray to come home. So, please pray for Stephen Johns (the guard he killed) and his family, but don't forget to pray also for James von Brunn and his shattered family which he has tragically destroyed as surely as he has the family of Stephen Johns.

We are called to be merciful, as God is merciful, and we are called to pray that those whose lives are lost in the darkness can come to The Light of God. It is pretty hard to pray for such persons, but that is one of the tasks to which Jesus explicitly calls us.

May God have mercy on us all, as we try to live His way.

Curtis Rivers


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