Love has the last word : Reflecting on the tragedy in Paris

Once again, our world has been rocked by death and destruction brought on innocent people by a group of radical Islamists. Remember 9/11? How could we forget! That day we were rudely awakened to the reality that our safety is an illusion. We learned about Osama Bin Laden and al Qaeda and soon after, we learned about ISIS. Whether we wanted to know it or not, we learned about women and children being tortured and killed. We learned about Sadam Hussein and his oppression and mass-murdering of human beings. It’s all just so much. So tragic. It’s assaulting.

We can’t erase it from our memories. We can’t ignore its existence. We can’t pretend it isn’t there. We have to face the fact that hatred is real and living all around us. 

Hatred is a unifier. It brings people together for a common cause. Hatred works its way through the souls of men and women, eating away at our innate goodness until nothing is left but dark, vile, hate.

It’s hard to imagine having a soul filled with so much hatred that it would be a proud moment to kill others and then go out as a martyr by blowing oneself up. I can’t even begin to know that kind of hate. It’s a parasite.

All I know, is that the men who killed others then killed themselves were once boys. They were babies nursed at their mother’s breast. They were toddlers full of laughter and joy. And then, somewhere between then and now, they were taught, perhaps by their fathers, that there was an enemy they were born to fight, an enemy they should hate enough to kill. Someone told them it was good to hate. Someone convinced them it was good for them to die.

Someone told them God wanted them to kill their enemies.

Everyday, there are other acts of hatred, perpetuated by decades, maybe even centuries of belief that somehow someone else is worth less than I am. I don’t like to admit that racism still exists in our country, but it does. I don’t want to believe that women are kept from advancing in their careers because of their gender, but they are. I would like to deny that Christians believe that our faith is justification for excluding LGBT people and those who struggle with all other manner of “sinful ways,” but we do. I’d like to look the other way, but I can’t. I can only ask myself,

Who does my soul love to hate? 

Now before you pull the “love the sinner hate the sin” card, just step back for a minute and think about that. Hatred, whether it’s for ISIS or thieves or murderers or Islamist extremists, will eventually choke out love. That my friends, is not something we can allow to happen.

So go ahead and hate that this happened. Go ahead and hate the fact that ISIS is growing and may be in our backyard. Feel free to condemn acts of hatred, but please, never ever forget that we are talking about real people here. Real, lost, brainwashed people, who, just like us are created in the very image of God. Their hatred for themselves and others is powerful. Let’s not make it more so.

I don’t know what to make of all of that is happening in our world. I could look at biblical and world history and find all kinds of reasons for hatred being perpetuated through multiple generations. Instead, I choose to put my hope in the knowledge that the real, true, living God is not a God of hatred, war and death. He is a God of love, and I believe that in the end, love is more powerful than hate.

Hate may be powerful, but it does not win in the end. In the end, love wins, love never fails, and love will have the last word.

We can’t undo all the damage that hatred has done. We can’t predict where and when it will rear its evil head next. We can only choose love today, and tomorrow, and the next day.

Love is more powerful than hatred. Live that out in your world this week, will you? I’m going to try to.







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