Warning: This is NOT a political post, it is a post about LOVE!
I have consciously tuned out the news for about 4 weeks. I’ve allowed the constant bombardment of bad news affect my heart, soul, and mind. The left is right, the right is right, Christian, Muslim, Jew, atheist, Democrat, Republican, and every label you can think of in our country, in our world participating in the hate in some big or small way. Horrible things are happening every day. Hate has become the prevalent part of every story, of every message. We also have a lot of ‘if you are not with us, you are against us’. Everyone is put in a Win-Lose situation. If I get my way, I WIN, you LOSE! AND, I’m gonna let you know it!
We have seen much loss of life recently. We have seen battles over things that become hateful. We have seen so much sorrow in our town, state, country and world that my heart started to ache constantly. And 4 weeks ago I shut the news off and started working on me, working on a more positive outlook, working to be the person I need to be, the person I want to be.
THEN I look at Facebook early last Thursday and see the unthinkable. 9 people killed in their own church, in my state, in my town. People that were very loving, giving, prayerful, and joyful in life. Gone from their church, our community, and all of our lives. My heart started hurting again in a very painful way. Why the hate? Why the senseless act? WHY?
Amazingly, out of this great tragedy, I see LOVE! I see HOPE! I see the victim’s families forgive, love, and pray. I see our community come together. I see tens of thousands of people come together. I see so much positive that I am overwhelmed.
Then, I turn on the news. Big mistake on my part! I see this tragedy becoming a political football. I see people start to pick sides again and start to move back to their comfortable corners. I see the division creeping back in already! WE CANNOT LET THIS HAPPEN!
We need to do things in LOVE to properly honor the 9 people that have lost their lives and to properly honor their families that have showed us the way. We have to make our decisions based in LOVE. We cannot make any situation WIN-LOSE. We have to find the path toward winning for all when it comes to our community, state, and country. LOVE cannot be legislated. We have to find it in ourselves and each other. We have to find it through God, with God. Why should we hate when we could LOVE and could be LOVED?
Father Willey, the pastor of our church, helped me to better understand what is happening and has happened in our world. On Sunday he made one statement that stuck with me:
“Evil only exists where there is an absence of God’s Love!”
This statement hit me where I needed it most, in my heart and soul. If we are truly doing things out of love, out of God’s love, we will not allow evil to take part in the decision, in our thoughts, or in our hearts. If we approach each person we see and say to ourselves “I love you”, how would that impact our conversation and relationship with that person? Placing that simple thought in our mind over and over could make a huge difference in how we travel through life. It could make a huge difference in how we impact other’s lives, our community, and the world. Father Willey is right, evil cannot exist where God’s Love exists.
My dad added one other nugget driving in the car yesterday. He said a friend of his once told him that when you are dealing with someone in a situation that is becoming difficult for that person and you, ask yourself this, “What would I do if this was my best friend? How would I respond and act?” Just think about it.
Each of us has a decision to make. Each of us needs to choose between LOVE and evil. Which will you choose? I CHOOSE LOVE!
Note to ME and YOU: If we can always work to make our decisions in LOVE, LOVE others, and travel our journey in LOVE then evil has no place to creep in!
PS To all of the people in Charleston, in our community, please continue to LOVE one another the way I have seen it these past few days. Let’s keep the love alive and push it out through our state and country. We all need and deserve it!