Love, Hate, and a Better Way

9042499872_f71b1e9a88_cOne of my favorite quotes that I’ve seen attributed to Dr. King is “I’ve decided to stick with love, hate is too heavy a burden to bear.” I wanted to look up the source of this quote, and this is something I found. It is from “Where Do We Go From Here?” a report to the Southern Chrisitan Leadership Conference. Read the full thing:

And I say to you, I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind’s problems. (Yes) And I’m going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn’t popular to talk about it in some circles today. (No) And I’m not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love; I’m talking about a strong, demanding love. (Yes) For I have seen too much hate. (Yes) I’ve seen too much hate on the faces of sheriffs in the South. (Yeah) I’ve seen hate on the faces of too many Klansmen and too many White Citizens Councilors in the South to want to hate, myself, because every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces and their personalities, and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. (Yes, That’s right) I have decided to love. [applause] If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love.

He talks about the hate that he has seen on the faces of others. He doesn’t want to give into that, because he knows that we lose ourselves when we hate. But notice what he is saying about love. It is not sentimentality. It is hard, demanding love. It is loving even those that seek to harm us, or hurt us, or hate us. Because when we respond in hate, we only imprison ourselves.

I am thinking about all this because we find ourselves at a moment in time, taking love our hate out of it, but so many see those with whom they disagree as less than themselves. I think social media contributes, making it easier to yell than to listen. I think our segmented world makes it easier because it is easy to only associate with those that share our politics or our religion. I think our media consumption makes it easy to consume what we agree with and right off everything else as #fakenews.

I think we’ve forgotten, sometimes, how to love. Love calls us to see the worth of each other. Of those that wear MAGA hats and those that beat sacred drums. Jesus died for both. I don’t know your politics or your religion. But I have to love you. I have to. I don’t mean I’m going to always agree with you, or you with me, and that’s ok. I learn the most from those with whom I disagree. But I know I don’t want to engage in tit for tat dehumanization of other people based off what I’m told to do by whatever section of society I fit into.

I want to follow the path of love. Because only that is the path of freedom. We may not always agree. And that’s ok. But can’t we always love?

As many of you know, my mother was murdered by my biological father, and I was raised by my grandparents. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I “love” my biological father. But I know this. I’ve had to let go of hatred because it would have killed me. That’s what hate does. Doesn’t mean he and I are friends. Doesn’t me we have reconciled. Doesn’t mean we have a relationship. But it means this. I don’t hate him. I’ve let it go.

Today, each day (especially if you are a Christ follower) choose love.

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