Love Must Triumph

Last Friday, we were shocked by more violence in our world. These senseless acts always shake us but when they are carried out in the most ordinary of places, it unnerves us even more. Who of us hasn’t found themselves in a restaurant, concert hall or sport’s stadium? These killings were not on a field of war, but in the common places of everyday living.

When these types of events occur, I am left feeling helpless. What can I do? And I feel guilty. My life goes on as usual. No disruption of routine for me. And I listen to the rhetoric going on around me. All kinds of talking heads tell me how I should react and how I should feel. Some voices call for tighter borders; others call for compassion for those fleeing the violence; others say we should put boots on the ground; others say just bomb the whole bunch of ’em.

So ask myself: where do these reactions come from? A place of fear or a place of love? Fear reduces us to prejudice and suspicion. Fear causes us to turn inward, to protect our own and to minimize the plight of others. They are the stranger after all. Are they worth the risk?

On the other hand, love lifts us to empathy and grace. Love causes us to turn outward. It is not that we love our own less, but that we love all as though they are our own, even if they are a stranger. We’re willing to risk for the sake of humanity. But for the grace of God, it could be my family fleeing a war-torn country. I can’t imagine what kind of conditions would cause me to leave everything I know—my home, my job, my country—and risk the lives of my family for the possibility of something better.

We are called see the value, sacredness and dignity of all life. Even though I feel unsure of what to do and I recognize the complexity of it all, I can’t shake the conviction that whatever I do and say, it must come from a place of love. Love must triumph or fear wins. Giving into our fears is not only the desired reaction of those who wish to terrorize us, it also leads to decisions that devalue life. And how is that much different from the attitude of those whom we fear?

Yes, love must triumph. And that includes loving our enemies. Even if all of our instincts tell us to retaliate and hate and shun and turn away, love must triumph. I’m not saying those responsible shouldn’t be punished. Undoubtedly they should. But 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” Let’s not punish the masses of innocents because of fear of the few. 

Being Human connection: That’s it. That we are all human.