It is this season every four years that I find myself wishing that I could hibernate. Nothing seems to really divide people more than politics (save for maybe Religion).
Yes, I’ve watched great friends engage in heated, unfriendly arguments about politics. I’ve fallen into the trap myself. It’s disgusting.
I’ve stated here many times (as many of you know) that I have nothing but disdain for politicians… I truly and sincerely believe that they are all crooked and criminal. They lie, vow, and promise ‘change’ every single election. But in the end they are all the same… Liars.
My instincts are to get angry. I feel the hate rise up within me when I hear them speak. Romney, Obama, Bush, Clinton, etc… They don’t represent me. They represent special interest groups.
But when I go to my quiet place and look for inner peace, I first have to resolve the issues that conflict within myself. I realize that hatred hurts many people. And it starts by hurting myself.
Have a read of Martin Luther King Jr’s lot in life. I am amazed that he was able to impart such a message of love and nonviolence under the heinous circumstances that he and the people of that time lived in… It’s hard for me to imagine the ridicule, the violence, and subhuman value given to these human beings.
The same is true of the Jewish people. These are easily the most persecuted people in history. I can hear myself saying that if the Jewish people had hate for their persecutors, it would be justified. But it’s just not true…
It’s truly an amazing philosophy expressed in this statement by Dr King… “If we are arrested every day, if we are exploited every day, if we are trampled over every day, don’t ever let anyone pull you so low as to hate them. We must use the weapon of love. We must have the compassion and understanding for those who hate us. We must realize so many people are taught to hate us that they are not totally responsible for their hate. But we stand in life at midnight, we are always on the threshold of a new dawn.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr. 24th February, 1956
Compassion and understanding for those who would seek to oppress you. That’s heavy and difficult. It’s SO much easier to hate and respond accordingly. Love is difficult, love is hard… dare I say, it’s contrary to human nature itself? Well maybe the fallen nature of human nature anyway.
I believe that we were born to love and be loved. And in the face of oppression, racism (black and white), terrorism, etc it is only love that can ultimately lead humanity to complete victory.
Truly it is love that draws friends to one another. It is love that compelled Christ to give His life for us. It is love that can transform a man’s heart and soul. It is love that is a choice… and a hard one.
I am not good at it. I have always been told that I have an overactive sense of justice. I have long believed in grace and mercy, but outwardly I practiced an eye for an eye. Dr King said “The reason I can’t follow the old eye-for-an-eye philosophy is that it ends up leaving everyone blind.” So very true.
I wish that I was better at this. I wish that I could develop love as a first instinct. It’s the right thing to do.
Finally, the Bible says this about love in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13…
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
peace and, of course, love