To say the past week has been difficult in this country would be an understatement. The amount of hatred and violence that has been demonstrated as the result of the events in Charlottesville last Saturday is disheartening. In my own lifetime, I can’t remember a time where there was this much division across the entire nation. And that is an unfortunate thing.
I have been reflecting on this a great deal over the past, now, eight days. I have been reading news articles; watching interviews from witnesses, law enforcement, and other “experts;” reading posts by people I know on social media, and the dreaded comments sections that go along with those posts. It is most disheartening the amount of hatred being so easily tossed from one person to the next.
In Ephesians, Paul tells us to (paraphrasing) not let any hurtful speech come from our mouths, and do not spread hatred. Instead, be compassionate and forgive. It is VERY difficult to forgive someone who is standing and waving a flag with a swastika on it. It is VERY difficult to forgive a person who has purposely injured or killed another person for their beliefs. But to return violence with more violence is not the solution. Martin Luther King Jr. understood this when he stated, “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.”
“But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”
As John states in his letter, if we live in this world with hate on our hearts, we live in blindness and cannot see where we are going. Of the posts that I have seen on social media, most have been blind anger and hate toward one group or another. Many of these comments directed at groups of people are made by people who are just simply reacting without even finding out the true facts. They are choosing to live in blindness by their anger rather than giving thought to what they are saying.
We need to live in a nation where we can treat each other with respect. We all are different. We all have different life experiences. We all have different beliefs. We will never see a time when all 350 million people in this country are 100% in agreement on every topic. You will not agree with all that I have to say, and that is fine with me. I am not going to agree with all of your political views either. We are not black or white or Latino or Asian. We are all one in Jesus Christ.
So, let’s get it together America. There is no room in this nation for extremism. There is no room in this nation to hate someone because they are Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal. There is no room in this nation to hate someone simply because of the color of their skin. There is no room in this nation to hate someone because of their sexual orientation. It is not acceptable to be an adult and use insults or name-calling. It is time that we all learn to coexist and LOVE EACH OTHER. It is what Jesus commanded us to do.