It can be easy to be weighed down by the fear and anxiety our world faces today. If we simply flip on the television and watch just a few minutes of the news, that might be enough to cause concern deep within us. As I have been watching the news and reflecting on the events of the last few weeks, I continue to wonder, when will the violence stop?
As there tends to be in violent attacks, there is a call for retaliation. There’s a never ending cycle of violence between Palestine and Israel, Middle Eastern nations and the West, and even in the gang violence that never ceases in our own back yard. So, again, I wonder, who will be strong enough to stop the violence?
I don’t claim to have any answers to the violence and fear that plagues our world, but as I reflect on the issues our world faces today as a person of faith, I have to believe there is a better way. We often allow politics and fear to drive our ability to even talk about how to respond to the refugees in the Middle East. There’s no question even asked on how to retaliate for such acts. Violence begets violence. Hatred begets more hatred, which just fuels more violence in a never ending cycle of evil.
As a follower of Christ, my fear cannot lead to hate. I am reminded of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s quote “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” We are called to live into the Truth of God that we read of time and again in Scripture that “God is love” (1 John 4:16). Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13: 34).
When we view the issues of the world, even the challenges we face personally, our lives could be much different if we simply loved. There’s real strength and power found in forgiveness, offering grace and love. We shouldn’t hate or demean others either.
Whether a person is a Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, or none of the above, an immigrant or refugee, even an enemy or brother, we should not hate. In fact, Jesus calls us to love our neighbor. To love our neighbor is to welcome them and offer our care for them, just as if we were in trouble or in need, I would hope someone else would offer their care for us.
As I have prayed about this, studied Scripture and talked with others, I keep coming back to this one Truth that continues to be revealed to me spoken in the words of 1 John 4: 7-8, “7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” I can’t shake this Truth that God is love and God calls me to love.
If we begin with this simply understanding of Truth, that God calls us to love all people, then I truly believe the world would be a better place. It’s as simple as that.
How do we make the world a better place? It all begins with love.