I realize I spend too much time thinking of them, those people who wake every morning with an extreme hatred for that which I love. I used to find comfort in pretending they didn’t exist.
But that fantasy—that pretending enemies do not exist—has cost me dearly. Some of my own family have been caught up in the hate. I wish I had prepared for it, but something inside me didn’t want to believe that there were people who truly hate. They hate me personally, my personal beliefs, my love for life and faith and freedom. I find it hard to accept that people can be so opposed to things which I am convinced are so good.
Yes, Mr. Gullible. There are those who want nothing but to kill and destroy you.
I was naive to think I could simply reason with those who hated that which I believed were good and true. Perhaps this is why I love academic debate so much. Even writing books on family and children (like Love Another Child) was brutally attacked by the prochoice, childfree, and overpopulation crowds. That’s just naming a few. They’ve been merciless and hostile online. Some of the battles we’ve suffered have left us tethered and bruised.
How do you respond to hate? Honest, adrenaline-flowing, heartfelt hate?
I have found no better way than love. We love who we are, we love those who hate us, and we hold out for a better reality. If you’re dealing with some who hate you, you may find comfort in securely planting yourself in each of these meditations.
We Love Who We Are
We love children, and we have taken a very unconventional path in parenting to allow as many children come as our faith allows. This was a conviction we received early in our married life that we are hesitant to deny now. This isn’t to say that others have not felt the same. We understand that this is not what most people choose, and we are totally fine with the choice of other couples. We answered a unique calling and we’re not sorry for it.
Whenever you act on conviction, the haters come out with a vengeance. You begin to wonder if you’re on the right track, wonder if those convictions (so-called) were really true. Consider a few of these whoppers from articles I have written:
- “I hate children. Would rather eat rat poison than grow another human being in my uterus. I happen to be ecstatic at the fact that in today’s society I have so many options available to me in order to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.” – Posted by Bad Girl Bex on Rebuttal to Lauren Sandler’s “Childfree Life.
- “Please, for the love of all things holy, stop writing cookbooks. Your recipes are awful. No person wants to eat the things you make. I shudder for your children’s dentists and docs.” – Posted from a fake IP from one of my wife’s cookbooks.
- “I’m very grateful that my child-free ideology means my kids won’t have to endure yours.” – Posted by Kyle ‘Ky’ Hanna on Child Free Ideology.
If you know us personally, you know that we are not people who get easily rattled. We love to throw big parties, we love to travel the country and even the world, and we have a large amount of friends who know these things to be true. So when genuine, gut-level hate comes our way, we tend to get knocked off course. We have found the best response to this level of hate is to remind ourselves of that which we love.
Wendy loves being the homemaker and mom to so many kiddos. A most perfect day for her is cooking up a big meal for her children. I love being the breadwinner through my entrepreneurial adventures. Wendy and I both left the workforce a decade apart from each other—Wendy in 1994 and me in 2004—and we never looked back. We love our Sweet Home Office Suite where most of our income is generated from our basement deals.
Should we hide that which we love? “Hide it under a bushel?” No! We are quite fine with our transparency.
But here’s the problem. This catches the attention from those who find our choices repulsive. Though we love who we are, they hate us. With passion.
We Love Those Who Hate Us
People mistakenly think we judge others for not loving the same things. We’ve spent a ton of time trying to calm people down who get very angry at our choices in parenting. Our large family living does not invalidate smaller families anymore than small families invalidate large ones. We do not take issue with any parent making decisions for their family.
(We do, however, take issue with people who think children are anything but a blessing, but that’s another discussion.)
Here is where I think people surrender to hate: they judge that which they do not understand and ultimately make monsters out of people whom they do not agree. Most people do not understand large families like ours, and a few have chosen to make monsters out of us. They post on gossip sites about how manipulative, deranged, crazy we are—most of whom never met us or stepped inside our loving home.
So how do I respond? I usually don’t, at least from an all-too-comfortable internet connection and anonymous reply. That’s the tactic of those who hold onto hate. I suppose there are times I am tempted to give into it and go on an online smear campaign to regain my public composure, but I resist. In fact, I am holding out for those haters.
I suppose you can say it’s a love-those-who-hate-you thing.
Judgment for others is tiring. Holding onto hate wears on you. I do not want to be a hurdle to others when they are ready to drop their burden and find their way in love.
We have had some of the most remarkable moments with people (including family) who drop the straw man judgment of who we are—or who they think we are—and we simply enjoy one another. Abandoning judgment is perhaps the most liberating of all freedoms. When I leave my prejudices at the door and get to know another of opposing views, I very often have a marvelous time. Always better than what I had brewed up in my head.
This is how I have found my way to love those who hate me. I’m more than willing to connect with them. Some have taken me up on it and neither of us—the hater nor the hated—regretted the reunion. If hate is too much an inhibitor for my accuser, I wait for another day. I have a few who continue to spread their hate about my family, but I am still willing to connect with them. When they’re ready.
We Hold Out for a Better Reality
Much can be said on this idea of “holding out” for another. I sympathize with the father of the Prodigal Son. He was “holding out” for his son, the one who ripped his inheritance from him and came crawling back after living the life of a fool.
I like to think of the father as a regular dad like me. Imperfect, holding regrets, sorry for the hand he had in his son’s dysfunction. What father can claim being free from dysfunction? I have dabbled in ideologies in my parenting that I am not proud of. In fact, I’m very sorry for giving them any attention at all.
But here’s the truth: we enjoy the liberation that comes with humbly accepting those mistakes we’ve made, seeking forgiveness for the harm we have caused others, and clinging to the salvation that follows. If anything has helped develop a most powerful love in my marriage and extended to our family it is this attitude. It is our better reality, the truth that sets us free.
Do you have people in your life who hate you? I bet you do. Learn to love who you are, love those who hate you, and hold out for a better reality.
I’m sure it will make a world of difference for you.