May I make a broad sweeping statement which I realize is always dangerous... regardless of subject matter. It is well known and understood that our culture appears to be more polarized, at this moment in history, than ever has been, since the War Between the States. Mistrust of the “other” has often become construed as threat, deserving of heightened vigilance and often deserving of hatred. Sadly, hatred can so easily devolve into discounting of life, even to the extent of its senseless loss. Please understand, no individual or collective of individuals is immune from this cultural disability... we all are somewhere on that continuum. The wonderful news is that Christians have an antidote for the massive infection of hate... it is imbedded in the life of Jesus who walked the same planet we all inhabit... may I share?
Of great import for me is this: hate always finds its genesis in fear. The very first step for overcoming fear is realizing “there is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear....” 1 John goes on to say, “he, then, who fears has not matured in love.” The nature of an all-inclusive “love throws out fear.” I can certainly be accused of oversimplification but fear has no home where love resides. If fear is extinguished hate has no nurturance. Our one and only task is to “love our neighbor as ourselves,” regardless of differences that can admittedly be immense. With love overcoming fear we are free to love every last individual of God’s beloved creation... because “God is love” and we have been created in love, to love! Jesus overcame fear demonstrating love, to grant us life.
Love is a simple solution for overcoming hatred but the journey toward perfect love is a life-time process. May God empower you and me to overcome the fears keeping us separated from all, brothers and sisters of the world.