To answer the hateful word in like kind is easy, almost automatic. These are the things we struggle against--the knee jerk responses of the old Adam, the twitches to life of the unburied dead. Like a zombie, the old man grotesquely persists, tied to ones back, a heavy burden indeed.
We are tested beyond endurance, eternally exposed to the storm. We fall once, twice, three times--battered by the cross which we lug inch by inch to Golgotha. It is not light, but heavy, heavy, and the end of all is crucifixion. This is the death the new man insists upon--not the death which avenges, not the death that takes as many enemies as possible with it, not a death with honor and pride, but the death by love, naked and pierced, alone and forsaken, harmless to the end.
This is the shame of compassion, this is the burden of love incorruptible., the victory of refusal.
Hate is immune to itself. Hate is sustained by itself. It consumes the stone, the bitter word, the dagger and the sword, the rot of anger. It grazes on the thistles of unforgiveness, and chews the cud that hardens the heart. Hate eats the marriage, eats the promise, crushes and swallows the sacred vow. It calls itself courageous, and then moves on, a swarm of locusts, a plague of flies.
These are the worms that turn and burrow in the sockets of eyes that would not see. These are the mites that taint the fruit, the maggots that ruin the meat. This is the mold which gobbles the bread and starves the innocent child.
The termite eats from the bottom up, and so the foundation crumbles first. The job is done, though the house still stands. What life remains yet walks on air, all the way down to the finished pit.
What cure exists now for the cancerous heart, what blood for the dried up vein?