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I hated him because he hated him first

October 21, 2011

There’s a saying that some Christians often say: I love you because He loved me first. It’s derived from 1 John 4:19, which, depending on the translation that you have, either says “We love, because He first loved us,” or “We love Him because He first loved us.”

The idea is that when the Christian discovers the impact of the Atonement and of Jesus’s sacrifice, then they can’t help but feel gratitude and love for that act. That gratitude spills over into a love for others. (That is, if I understand what they are trying to get at, correctly.)

This idea is nice, but I don’t think it plays out often enough. In the first place, it’s difficult to comprehend how He loved us first. I mean, for some, Jesus is present and real, more real than ordinary things. But for others, that simply isn’t the case. The Atonement is something to talk about, but simply conceptual. And something that is conceptually difficult or conceptually flawed, sometimes.

In a different story, on Reddit, there was a reddit link warning people to protect themselves from the behavior described and celebrated in a particular blog post. I won’t link the blog post here, because it was quite explicit and not safe for work, and I won’t even really talk about what was described in there, because that particularity isn’t totally important (well, only to the extent that I had some thoughts elsewhere.)

The point is that very quickly on, people became quite enraged that such a person would commit such acts. They thought they were illegal, that this person should be reported to the authorities, etc., (And, to be frank, the acts described were definitely morally corrupt…and it seems like the only reason they would not be illegal is if the law in a particular jurisdiction hadn’t “caught up” to that act yet.)

When I read the blog post, I too was extremely disturbed. And it made me think a lot about a lot of things. (I guess this is where I will begin to reveal some aspects of the blog post and whatnot, but hopefully not too much.)

…in the discussion of whether gay people should have certain rights or a certain level of acceptance, there’s too much talk about the matter of whether homosexuality is chosen or inborn, and not enough talk about whether it is something that should be supported or not.

People seem to assume that if sexuality is unchosen, then it should be supported. But someone who opposes homosexuality (or any particular sexuality) can do so regardless of its origins…if it’s chosen, then they can say people should choose differently. If it’s unchosen, then people can call it a pathology, a disease, a genetic or mental defect, and insist that people choose to act differently. Maybe it’ll lead to diabolical research to stamp out that trait, however it arises.

…so you see, the choice/not-a-choice discussion doesn’t really solve anything.

And so people who support gay rights and relationships point out how it doesn’t harm anyone. The counter is that people who oppose those rights and relationships think that it does harm people. Maybe they think it harms children. Maybe they think it harms society. Maybe they think it harms the individual. Maybe they think it harms the soul.

People who think it causes harm will often point to self-destructive behaviors and say, “there, homosexuality produces bad fruits.” But they won’t consider that a) those fruits are not exclusive to homosexuality and can happen with heterosexuals as well, b) those fruits may have a different cause (e..g, a repressive social system that discourages open, honest relationships and instead drives people into secret, clandestine behaviors), etc.,

…And so, as I was reading the blog post, I began to wonder if this kind of behavior wouldn’t be used as an indictment of non-heterosexuals everywhere.

Obviously, others were very upset by this post, though. So, the thing was, other gay people didn’t approve of this person’s behavior either. And so came the hate.

The individual said something in a related post that made me think there was more than met the eye. He talked about how people needed to defend themselves…that they couldn’t rely upon others (or him) to be out for their best interest, when he (and others) were just trying to get what they want. In society, if you’re being mugged, you can’t just call out a safe word, so why would you assume that in a relationship, you have an implied safe word? You can’t blame people for what happens to you, he said.

And that’s when, in one line, he noted that he had never blamed the man who abused him for his lot in life either.

With this one line, I had to read more…and there was more, throughout the pages of the entire blog.

…I want to take another aside. People who often oppose homosexuality argue that people who practice such “deviant” practices must have been abused. I think that everyone always tries to downplay abuse to point out that everyone who’s gay hasn’t been abused, and that homosexuality isn’t “caused” by abuse. I think in this process, we fail to appreciate the horror of abuse that does happen.

As I was reading his articles, his struggles with the story and his analysis of what his life experiences have done to him today, I really had to wonder about abuse. Was he engaging in self-destructive behavior because of his abuse? He didn’t seem to think of himself as destroying himself, but do people who destroy themselves ever do? He himself characterized much of who he was today to what had happened to him when he was younger. He seemed to sometimes think of it positively — as if this was how he turned around from those times…but other times, he thought of it negatively — as if he knew that he was trying to punish others because he was punished.

At times, he wondered why people call him sociopathic…but at other times, he recognized that he can’t be nice or soft or whatever…that he only wants a few things and he’ll do whatever he can to get those things, not caring about anyone else. (but at other times, he would talk about wanting more or something better)…and sometimes, he recognized that there is a darkness within him that he must control (and he considers himself in good control of it, notwithstanding what he does).

…at the end, I realized I couldn’t hate him. I couldn’t support what he does at all, but I couldn’t hate him.

I wanted to reach out to him, somehow. (Part of me still does.) But I know that would be an extreme liability — there is something to what he says about you needing to be the one to protect yourself, because you can’t really expect anyone else to, and you can’t really expect anyone to respond to “safe words.”

And so, instead, I wanted to reach out to someone in his stead. I imagine this is why some people pray to God for others. Because they know that they cannot reach out to that person, but they hope that maybe God can…But I’m not even there yet…so this rinky-dink blog is the best I can do.

…I couldn’t hate him. And even more, I knew that everyone who hated him didn’t hate him for him, they hated him because there was a man who hated him first.

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6 Comments
  1. “To know all is to forgive all.”

  2. becky permalink

    Now I want to read that blog…

  3. It sounds like you’re talking about Dexter.

    I agree that the “I-was-born-this-way” argument is not really a good argument for approving of homosexuality. Because if, say, pedophiles or serial killers had some in-born trait that caused them to be that way, we should still certainly condemn that kind of behavior and do whatever we can to stop them from acting out.

    No, I think that any behavior should be judged by its fruits. And I do think there’s a preponderance of evidence that when same-sex oriented individuals establish and nurture stable, loving, committed relationships that there’s a lot of good that comes out of it — for them individually, and for the families and communities they belong to. On the other hand, forcing same-sex oriented individuals into opposite-sex relationships causes lots of heartache and damage… I think if we judge homosexual relationships on the demonstrable merits, we do have a good, solid case for extending social support for such relationships.

    I think the LDS case against same-sex marriage boils down to beliefs about the eternal ramifications… Fewer and fewer LDS are willing to deny the preponderance of evidence of the good that same-sex oriented individuals experience in committed relationships in this life, anyway. So they’ve retreated to the argument that we just have to trust what prophets are teaching us about eternal family.

    (Non-LDS are similarly retreating to arguments about what they think God’s Law is, based on their readings of a handful of Old and New Testament texts…)

  4. For me, this post is really confusing to figure out what you are talking about without subtext here.

    If consenting adults choose certain behaviors, what does that matter? How does that impact me? It can get complicated, but again, I don’t care what happens in another person’s bedroom as long as everyone consents and is of age.

    Now, if one person is deliberately lying to someone else, or knowingly misconstruing themselves – or exploiting another person (particularly a minor), that’s wrong (and potentially illegal). In the 90s movie “Kids”, one of the teenagers exploits his girlfriends – I won’t necessarily even recommend the movie which is intensely disturbing. There’s a big difference between behavior between consenting adults, and exploitation.

    So still, this post is confusing because I’m not sure what you’re referring to here. And people and sexuality are incredibly complex – I don’t pretend to understand or explain motivations.

  5. John,

    Not much I disagree with.

    aerin,

    I’m definitely avoiding trying to shares the subtext. But I will say this: there is something going on that could be considered “exploitation,” “deliberate lying,” or “knowingly misconstruing” (along with a few other tricks.) The person who I’m referring to will deny, deny, deny, say that he tried to give people advance warning (but that they didn’t want to believe him, etc.,), they knew or should have known what they were getting into, etc., but it’s definitely straddling the line between consent and nonconsent as closely as it can be straddled…and on the wrong side.

  6. SNeilsen permalink

    Well, I have no idea what’s going on here.

    But I stopped by to say that if civil rights are dependent on successfully mimicking Ward and June, then I’m handing out labrys to every womyn I know.
    Here’s to the barbarians storming the pearly gates.

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