Living in Fear; Living with Hatred
These last few days have been very trying for those of us who care about people. Violence has grown to obscene proportions. Many of us question how safe we really are. It is necessary for us to work hard to keep ourselves safe and assure that those we love and care for are also safe and secure. This means those we serve also.
At our church, we do a great deal for the people in our community who have been left behind by the greedy leaders controlling politics and money. It is possible that because of our generosity and care for people of all colors, all genders, all nationalities, someone who objects to our serving these community members could enter the church will violence in his heart. This is why we must assure that we are safe in our environs.
However, there is another aspect to all this. I will not reduce the importance of assuring this safety, but in our own hearts there is something we can do to be at ease. We can search into the pits of our very core, the depths of ourselves, to open ourselves to unbridled love for each other. By doing this, we are opening ourselves to receive the comfort of God in our lives. We are also confirming the principle that love conquers fear, love conquers hate.
The gospel of John, chapter 17, says “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father protect them by the power of your name – the name you gave me – so that they may be one as we are one.” Prayers such as this may not stop the violent incidents we experience, but this does allow us to live our lives in the relative of freedom knowing that God will protect us no matter what the outcome of some fool’s actions occur.
Many of us consider the creation of the world as a gift of life. And poverty is against the meaning of that gift; therefore, we cannot let negative influences to prevent us from lifting our neighbors from poverty. We are urged by the naysayers that our efforts are useless, and some of these negative people believe that those living in poverty deserve it. This is not the way people living in God’s light think of others. We must continue to be the example that God’s light shines for all.
The theologian, Jean Vanier, writes, “One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress.”
If we are people of faith, we give our lives to what God wishes for the world. Does that mean we have to walk through fire? Sometimes. Perhaps. And, this is the scary part; but, I, for one, could not live with myself if I turned my back on my less fortunate neighbors because of fear what someone may or may not do to stop me. My life and my relationship with God is too important to ignore. Besides, my Marine Corps training taught me to never give up. This and God’s love has brought me back from the depths of very serious physical difficulties to be able to live a very, very normal productive life. I can only do the same for those who need God’s compassion. And in doing so, perhaps I can eliminate some of the hate in our world.
As a final thought, I can only say that I cannot control what others may do; the only thing I can do is to live the life I have, which is supported by walking in the light of God and sharing his good blessings.