Hi. You don’t know me, but I know you. I won’t tell you my name yet, but you might recognize me by some of the names people have called me in the past. At least they called me those names … when they believed I existed.
I’m as old as sin. I hate God but sometimes act like I don’t. I love to spend time both outside and inside church. I love to accuse, yet I sometimes act like I’m encouraging. I love “truth” as long as it’s leavened with lies. I love grudges, and I hate forgiveness. I thrive in hard hearts … and in hearts that think evil doesn’t exist. I love spending time with people because people are stupid. I don’t often offer pure evil at first, but the lesser good. I hate the childlike, but love the overly naïve. I hate the righteous but I love the self-righteous. I hate the hard workers, but I love the lazy. Here are some of my reasons:
Childlike vs. naivety: I hate the type of innocence that sees God in everything. But I love it when people walk with their heads so far in the clouds they ignore the evil around them, pretending it doesn’t exist. Often those are the “ultra-intelligent” Catholics with whom I spend time; those that “have everything figured out.” Sometimes, those people even preach that I don’t exist. They’re the ones who preach that sin isn’t the fault of the person who commits it, but only the fault of society. Perfect! If people think they haven’t done anything wrong, then they don’t need — I can hardly stand to say it — a redeemer.
Righteous vs. self-righteous: I hate righteous people; the ones who speak out in the face of injustice or false teachings. But I love those who are impressed with their own righteousness. Sometimes those people feel they’re righteous because of a position held in the Church; other times it’s more subtle. I love the iPhone craze, too; those phones with video cameras that no one can seem to put down? Yes! Besides driving relationships apart, humans can use those phones to record and post everyone else’s mistakes. Of course, they don’t like it when it’s done to them. But that “self-righteous” stuff works, doesn’t it?
I also love messing with those who are out to “save the world.” Yes, indeed. Often I influence them to do so much good they forget to look interiorly to check themselves. After all, “I can’t be too bad a person if I’m doing so much good … right?”
Hard workers vs. the lazy: I hate it when people work hard to advance the deplorable Kingdom of God. But I love it when people paint with broad brush strokes — for instance, that all poor are lazy or that all rich are evil. I also love it when they give control of their lives over to others — especially those politicians whom I’ve influenced to remove God from everything in the name of “tolerance.” Please, give them more control. They do know better than you.
I’ve loved the 20th century, and I’m really looking forward to the next one. Two world wars, millions of abortions, thousands of assisted suicides; I’m having a real party down here. And how about my grasp on the media? There are still far too many good people in the media, but there are enough of them on my side that it isn’t hard. I feed their self-righteousness and let them loose. After all, they’re going to “make things right.” And if it’s on television, it must be true, right?
Do me a favor: don’t believe that God really loves you. Don’t believe that He would die for each individual person if it were necessary. Don’t waste your time going to Mass on Sundays — after all, signing your kid up for another travel team is more important; he might be a failure if you don’t. I hate families. Please, stay so busy that you don’t have quality time together. And don’t forgive if someone hurts you; it’s much better to get even. That’s what Hollywood says, anyway. Don’t listen to that old-fashioned Church.
Most of all, don’t run to God for forgiveness. There’s no way anyone could love you that much … is there?
Paul Stuligross is director of campus ministry for Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Preparatory High School and is a former police officer.