Love Thy Neighbor

Love thy neighbor.

How very easy it is to say or to write those words. But it’s not so easy to act them out. Especially when that neighbor has hurt someone you love.  First comes shock and then anger and then indignation. Horror and disbelief knock you for six while sadness fills you for the hurt in your loved one. Being human the first thing you want to do is beat the living daylights out of the moron who did the dirty deed. But the tether to God holds you firm in front of the mirror of His word. Love Thy Neighbor…Forgive those who sin against you…

Tonight I don’t want to love or forgive him. I want to beat his ugly little butt. This friend of hubby’s, he who cycles over here and chit-chats about everything under the sun, him.  The nice old fella from up the road hubby’s been friends with for a couple of years, calls hubby this afternoon and says, “Gimmie a call when you get home from work I have a photo for you.” Hubby is always giving his friends photos of the great catches they pull out of the bay while fishing. So he thought this friend had a fishing photo for him.

Hubby and I had dinner in town because we had some errands to run. But as we pulled into the driveway afterwards hubby called his friend and says, “I’m home.” A few minutes later I heard them talking out on the driveway. I was on the phone with baby-bear and so didn’t notice hubby when he came in. After a while he says, “This is what G gave me.” He handed me an envelope with hubby’s name heavily written on the outside of it. Like he had gone over it with the pen umpteen times. I almost died when I opened the envelope and took out the card. This was a piece of card cut to size on which a photo of a baby monkey, cut to size, was taped to it, and the words, Hank–1st–Birthday written on it. I was confused for a second, but eventually I realized what it was. And worse that this friend had gone to extreme lengths to make this horrible thing.

Some of you know that my hubby is dark-skinned so when I saw this homemade card I was furious. I asked my husband why on earth his ‘friend’ would do such a horrible thing; he was as mystified as I was. I got this man’s phone number and called him. I asked why did you give Hank that awful card? To which he replied, So you believe in evolution now? I responded, this has nothing to do with evolution. To which he responded, Ah, but he was a beautiful baby. I told him that was NOT funny and hung up before I said something I shouldn’t.

I asked hubby how he felt about it and he said he was shocked and hurt by it, but didn’t want to give the guy the satisfaction of getting the reaction he was obviously looking for. He thought this guy was a genuine friend. Not like the good friends he’s had all his life, but an honest, decent, fishing-buddy. Instead it turns out he’s a racist. Hubby said when he thought back over some of their conversations his ears were pricked a couple of times by comments this guy had made about Obama and that made hubby wonder. But you never want to believe nice folks could be so ignorant. The truth is they can be and some (unapologetically) are.

My anger has waned a little as the night has worn on and I am thinking this guy has a very weird sense of humor at the best of times and he probably thought this was a hilarious joke. I think he knows now that we don’t think it’s funny at all.

What do you think? Am I over-reacting? Like I said earlier I am tethered to God’s Word and know the path to take on this. I will forgive him. It might be after I’ve knocked him flat, but I will forgive him. Hubby tore the thing up and tossed it in the trash. And being the man he is he will forgive his old friend, chalk it up to experience, and move past it.

Note: I’ve removed the picture as it was SO completely offensive.

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19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sherrysf
    Jun 30, 2012 @ 00:54:58

    i am stunned and furious just reading this. He needs to apologize, this man. NO it is not okay! You can pray for him and love him but, personally, I would distance myself. Really got very upset reading this…my lips pursed and all!


    • elizabeth
      Jun 30, 2012 @ 07:18:00

      Yeah Sherry, hubby has decided to distance himself from him. He figures he’s not going to change this man at this late stage in his life.


      • sherrysf
        Jun 30, 2012 @ 21:04:08

        I was so flabbergasted by this, I forgot to “like” this post… Am away this weekend and sneaking writing time :)


  2. Patricia
    Jun 30, 2012 @ 01:21:20

    Truthfully, I don’t know what to make of it. It makes no sense to me. None at all.

    I think I would like to know the the why of it. What made it amusing to him? When he looks at his friend, your husband, what does he see and what words does he use in defining or describing your husband and their friendship?

    My first thought was that you are better off without a “friend” like this. But if this is a man your husband cares about and values then maybe some conversation is needed to understand where this came from and why. He needs to know that this hurt and at the least an apology is due.

    Obviously he doesn’t have a clue about how ignorant he is.


    • elizabeth
      Jun 30, 2012 @ 07:26:18

      Thankfully Patricia he’s not that important to hubby so he won’t be missed :) I was concerned we needed to educate the man in a loving way, but he goes to church regularly so he probably just needs prayer for understanding and his ears and heart to be opened for him to see the darkness within.

      And as hubby was saying this morning, how do we know it’s not simply the onset of dementia or something like that?


  3. Deanna Schrayer
    Jun 30, 2012 @ 08:54:19

    Yes, it is a horrible thing for him to have done, even though he may have thought it a fun practical joke, he needed to be told that it is not the least bit funny, so good for your for speaking up. He does need to apologize and immediately.
    It may seem a strange question, but the first thing I wonder about is how old this “friend” is and where he grew up. That might, (and that’s a loose might), tell you when and how he was raised. Such “jokes” may seem completely normal to him.

    My parents both grew up in the early 50s in an area that was at least 99% white, rarely did they even have the chance to interact with other races and when they did, I guess their parents must’ve taught them those people were beneath them, (whether they knew they were teaching them that or not). I can’t tell you the number of times that both my parents and their siblings have said supposedly innocent things that really had my blood boiling. Things like “He was black but he was nice.” I always want to yell at them at those times but I’ve always had immense respect for my elders, and especially my parents, so I’ve held my tongue. But I’m glad to say the racism, intended or not, has stopped with my generation (in our family anyway).
    Interesting – I’m working on a short story about racsim based on some of the remarks I heard from my parents and their siblings when I was growing up, and, in particular, one awful Halloween when we were made to dress up as “jigaboos”. It’s the best way I know to get the anger out of my system.

    It’s a good thing for this “friend” that you do have such spiritual strength Elizabeth. Otherwise, well, I guess he may not look much better than a rotten tomato….


    • elizabeth
      Jun 30, 2012 @ 16:18:55

      Deanna, I think this man grew up in the same situation as your parents. I don’t think he truely understands the depth of his ignorance. I think that’s what’s making it easier to forgive him. He doesn’t know what he’s doing.

      Your book sounds like it’s going to be a sizzler. I can’t wait to read it. :) PS loved you ‘long’ response :)


  4. ashleigh
    Jun 30, 2012 @ 08:54:49

    Absolutely horrified. Can’t imagine how uncle Hank felt receiving that. Racism at its ugliest – completely shocked and appalled.


  5. Deanna Schrayer
    Jun 30, 2012 @ 08:56:04

    Gosh, I didn’t mean to write a comment nearly longer than your post! Guess that shows just how much this sort of thing gets to me.


  6. ivonprefontaine
    Jun 30, 2012 @ 09:34:55

    It is hard to make sense of the event. What would possess a person to think they were doing something educational or insightful which is so hurtful? Take care and keep up the faith.


  7. Helen Phillips
    Jun 30, 2012 @ 11:23:37

    Reading this made me very angry, sorry Liz I would have punch him, don’t know what church he attends but I’m sure the congregation would be horrified by this. Take care Helenx


  8. Anonymous
    Jul 02, 2012 @ 09:10:26

    Firstly the “old Pal ” is an ass—- what gave him the right to think that his racist comment would be deemed as funny, Grrrrrrrrr how dare he send something so horrendous to anyone, never mind that oor Hank is the most caring, empathic and helpful friend he,ll wish he never lost. I hope HIS god in HIS church knows this racist and doles out some love and understanding to him cos i could tell ye wit i`de be doling oot and it would be none of the above.Hank must be gutted and sorely hurt, sending him big ((((hugs))))) from the Mcdonald house .


  9. elizabeth
    Jul 02, 2012 @ 09:17:34

    Ann, he’s over it now, but I know it hurt. Thankfully Hank’s a good guy and won’t hold a grudge over this. He just won’t associate with the man anymore. So, no more free fishing trips for that old friend! :) xx


  10. laina
    Jul 04, 2012 @ 17:34:34

    Oh the fun we could have with THAT BRAINLESS WONDER !!
    Sorry Hank had to experience that.


  11. elizabeth
    Jul 04, 2012 @ 19:09:06

    :) xx


  12. Angela Young
    Jul 05, 2012 @ 17:21:18

    Wow! I feel sorry for the poor, clueless man! I have people who send me obama stuff like that too. I am not an O fan by any means, but that makes me angry. It doesn’t help the political debate either. I’m sorry this guy did this and sorry he thought it was so funny. I am also glad your hubby is such a great guy that he’s willing to forgive and move on. Angie


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