Recent events have reminded us how strong hate can be.
- White Supremacists marching in Charlottesville, shouting “Jews will not replace us!” and “Blood and soil!” (an old Nazi Germany chant), and “Heil Trump!” while throwing Nazi salutes.
- Directives from the President attempting to ban transgender people from the military and threatening expulsion of those already serving honorably.
- Efforts to ban entry of any refugees fleeing danger and to dramatically reduce immigration, especially from Muslim and Latino countries.
- Termination of the Dreamer program, raising the specter that almost a million children and young adults who were brought here by their parents and grew up here will be deported.
- A dramatic rise in hate crimes throughout our country.
Every week it feels like a different vulnerable population is being targeted – a trend that threatens to destroy the core moral principles on which our nation is founded – Equality for All, Celebration of Diversity, and Unity in Diversity. America is a melting pot. We are a nation of immigrants. E pluribus unum – out of many one!
So how should we respond to all this hate?
The solution is love.
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21. - Jesus
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi
In an interview that aired recently on MSNBC’s “Last Word,” a former white supremacist, Christian Picciolini, pleaded with us not to lash out in anger at divisive people. That only fuels their hate, he said. When we see hate, it’s natural to be angry and frustrated. But we must channel those strong emotions in productive ways that don’t reinforce the very hate we seek to heal. Instead Picciolini urged that we engage hate with the only force in the cosmos great enough to transform it – love.
Rev. Mel White, founder of Soulforce, puts it this way, “We must speak the truth in love relentlessly.” Each word in that quote is important:
"Speak the truth" We can’t be silent in the face of hate; we must dare to speak the truth and respond.
"In love" Our response must be framed in a way that has a chance of creating positive change and maybe even reaching the heart of haters.
"Relentlessly" Hate runs deep and will not be quickly overcome; we need to be in this struggle for the long haul.