Erase Hate – One Person at a Time
In 1998, on a deserted road, 21 year old Matthew Shepard was beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die. Tragically, 3 days later, that’s exactly what happened. Was he guilty of a crime that vigilante justice insisted he atone for? Had he cheated on or wronged someone for the last time? Was someone settling a score? What had this beloved son done to “deserve” to be tortured and murdered? In a sentence? Matthew Shepard was gay. His young life was brutally ended for that reason alone.
I cannot even begin to imagine a more horrific or terrifying death. The pain, the fear, the helplessness, and the suffering. I also cannot even begin to imagine something else: The HATE. How can any human have so much hate inside of them that they would do this to another person? How could anyone be so demonic and so unspeakably evil?
Unfortunately, Matthew Shepard wasn’t the first victim of a hate crime or the last. No race, sex, denomination, or individual is safe from hate crimes. Anyone could be targeted, actually, because we’re all different. Christians, whites, blacks, gay people, straight people, the elderly, the young, the pretty, the ugly, Latinos, Asians, Jews, native Americans… the list goes on and on. History has proven that hate, when fed a continual diet of rage and intolerance will lead to unspeakable crimes. Some people think nothing can be done about it, so why even try. Fortunately, at least as many people know that love is greater than hate and that to not try is somewhat like contributing to the hate.
Just a few thoughts:
1. Examine your own heart. Do you harbor hatred toward any group of people? If so, ask yourself how comfortable you are being filled with something as ugly and poisonous as hatred.
2. Listen to your children. Do they continually make fun of or condemn a certain type of person? Ask yourself how comfortable you are with your children being full of such hatred. One of the saddest things in the world is when parents raise their children to hate just as they hate. WHY WANT YOUR CHILDREN TO HATE INSTEAD OF LOVE?
3. Realize that we are all different. It may be a shock to one’s system, but we are all hated by someone. Whether it’s for our race, our religion, or our sex – we are all the object of someone else’s hatred and intolerance.
After you take a good look inward, make the necessary changes outward. Hate destroys all of those it touches – those who harbor it every bit as much as those they harbor it towards.
Granted, we all have different views and different beliefs. There’s nothing wrong with that. If one person is a Democrat and the other’s a Republican – neither has done anything wrong. But when one develops hatred for the other and becomes so intolerant that they treat the other as though they’re diseased, they fail to realize that the one who is diseased is actually the person they see in the mirror each morning.
Hatred is a disease. Love is the cure. Even if someone does something you don’t agree with or understand, you should love them. Hating will destroy you long before it does them.
Matthew Shepard’s family has set up a remarkable foundation in their beloved son’s name. It’s too late to save Matthew, of course, but the hope is that it isn’t too late to save other sons and daughters, mothers and fathers….. Their message is a simple yet powerful one: Erase Hate. There are pendants and tees that shout the message out loud and proud.
The more of us who wear and live this message, the better. When the haters of the world see how completely outnumbered they are, perhaps they’ll retreat to a corner and figure out how to get a life. Maybe then, when they step back out of the corner, they can actually enjoy life, contribute to society, live a life worth living, and allow everyone else to do the same.
Visit the Matthew Shepard Foundation’s Web Site today. 100% of the net proceeds go to the Matthew Shepard Foundation.