Evil is not a theory.
It’s not a concept created by angry, red-face preachers trying to stop people from having a good time.
Evil is what flies airplanes into buildings and drives an automobile into pedestrians.
But evil doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
No one wakes up one morning, in the middle of a fine, stable, happy life and decides, “I’m going ram my car through a crowd of people today.”
We get to places like that slowly. Piece by piece. Step by hateful step.
We Choose How We Respond To Loss
It usually begins with a loss of some type – whether real or imagined. Then, how we choose to respond to that loss, perhaps to a long series of losses, starts us on a trajectory.
We can respond with anger and hatred. That’s easy. Angry, hateful voices are all around us and they’re looking for fellow travelers.
But when we constantly expose ourselves to the voices of anger and hatred, they create a wall so high and so thick that no other voices can get in.
We get hurt, then we get hard.
Change Your Trajectory
Like a train chugging out of a station, that trajectory starts slowly. But once it gets going, it creates a momentum that, outside of a dramatic, powerful intervention, is impossible to stop.
Anger builds. Hatred grows. Evil plants a seed.
But we can choose a different trajectory.
The way of Jesus.
Love our enemies.
I’m aware of how easy that is for me to say as I sit safely and comfortably in California. It’s much harder to say in Charlottesville, Virginia today.
But it wasn’t easy for Jesus to say it. Or to live it.
Jesus didn’t speak love in a timid voice from a place of comfort or naïveté. He spoke it the way he lived it. Boldly. Shockingly. In a way that made as many enemies as friends. Powerful enemies. Eternal friends.
Jesus had plenty of deep, profound evil to be angry about. He was a member of a race and a religion that had valid reasons to hate. And he lived in a time and place where there was very little to be gained by acting in love. Or so it seemed.
Love Must March, Too
I know, when you’re angry – and justifiably so – love can seem like a weak, shallow, moderated response. We don’t need a weak, shallow, moderated response right now. We need a strong, deep and clear response.
That’s why we need Christ’s love. Because his love is the strongest, deepest and clearest response there is.
Love is risky. Love is powerful. Love is better.
When hate marches in the streets, as it did last weekend in Charlottesville, replete with KKK uniforms, Nazi slogans, swastikas and more, love must march in the streets, too. And love must be spoken by people who have been given a platform, like a microphone, a pulpit, or a blog.
A loud love. A strong love. A clear love. A love that denounces the evils of Nazism, Klanism and the white supremacist lies that fuel them. A love that doesn’t just tear down what’s wrong, but offers a stronger, better alternative.
The Voice Of Jesus
Responding to hatred with hatred only breeds more hatred.
Even hatred for the right reasons can lead to evil places just as surely as hatred for the wrong reasons.
Don’t drink the poison.
The only way we can be sure we’re responding correctly, constructively and redemptively is with the strongest, deepest, clearest voice we can muster.
The voice of Jesus. The voice of love.
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