Dear Fellow Pilgrims,
Following the shootings in El Paso and Dayton last weekend, public discourse took its predictable trajectory. There was an outpouring of heartfelt empathy for the victims, their families, and their communities. There was gratuitous outrage by politicians. There were impassioned calls for reform in gun laws, matched by impassioned calls to arm more people with more guns. Each time we go through this, we argue about the best ways to address the symptom (gun violence) while we go on spreading the disease (hatred).
Let’s stop pretending that all the ugliness going on in the world is the fault of democrats or republicans or guns or immigrants or Trump or Islam or Wall Street or Amazon. Just stop. All of us, every single one of us, is capable of feeling hatred and directing it toward another person, especially toward someone who is not like us. And the problem is that we’re all doing it all the time. Just spend five minutes on social media – or any media for that matter – and you’ll see it. The deadly virus called hate has reached epidemic proportions (thank you, Internet), so why do we continue to feign shock when it claims more victims? Hate is merely doing what hate does – it kills. And every time any of us spews more hatred into the world, we are spreading the disease.
This virus cannot be stopped with gun laws, or political rhetoric, or border walls. There is only one thing that defeats hatred: love. And it works every time. Every time. Jesus was not ambiguous on this point. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love your enemy. Love one another as I have loved you. He said it again and again. He lived it day after day. When confronted with hatred, he went to the cross in the name of love rather than respond with more hatred.
We can do the same. We can choose love over hate. We can choose love over division. We can choose love over politics. We can choose love over fear. What’s holding us back?
Journey well and pray always.
Deacon Steve Meyer