Many of you know that I have a rather interesting taste in music, tv shows and movies. The recent announcement that Fox was bringing back the X-Files sent my heart aflutter. Most of the episodes have been ok. The cast is a little older and the writers a little less out there, but it is a good season nonetheless. I hope they bring it back next season.
That said, I was struck by a line out of tonight’s episode entitled “Babylon”.
‘I saw deep and unconditional love,’ Mulder explained.
‘I witnessed unqualified hate that appears to have no end,’ Scully retorted.
‘How to reconcile the two…the extremes of our nature?’ Mulder mused.
Anyone who knows me knows that this is a question I have been asking myself for several years now. And here we are in an election cycle that has shown that “unqualified hate that appears to have no end.”
One of the premises of this episode was that people are open to suggestion; that words and ideas have weight. When we support, either outright or by our silence, the verbiage of hate, we help it take root in the lives of those who look to us for guidance.
On the other side of that lies the issue of how to address such hate without becoming hateful ourselves. Sometimes it is not about what we say, but how we say it. As a pastor, I struggle with this all the time. Sometimes I need to say something about the actions or attitudes of others, but I must remember to do so in Christian love and charity so as to not become what I am preaching against.
I have had several people ask me if I have watched the political debates. The answer is no…no I have not watched them. I am not sticking my head in the sand or ignoring the political issues. Rather, I refuse to allow the anger, vitriol and hate that is being spread by some politicians to enter my heart or mind. It is bad enough that I have to see what they say on Facebook and on Internet news sites.
This Lent, I encourage you to help change the conversation. Use the power of suggestion to help brighten the world around you, rather than continuing the march of anger and hate.
In the final scene of tonight’s X-Files, discussing what we should do to reconcile the notion of hate and love and what God is trying to say to us, Agent Scully says to Agent Mulder: “Maybe we should do like the prophets and open our hearts and truly listen.”
That is my call to you this Lent. Open your hearts and truly listen to the unconditional, unending love of God.