Hate is not new. Division isn’t the latest fad. It is ancient. Beginning in the garden and moving, always forward, with each generation. It slithers and slides, morphing into whatever form is needed to keep itself intact. It feeds upon fear and gorges on superiority. It is a glutton, always hungry but never satisfied with its latest feast. Its goal is destruction…of relationships, of goodwill, of caring, of families, of countries, of races, of whatever is good…of life. It knows no bounds. It is a manipulator who lies, to gain entrance into minds and some are easier than others. Yet, all know this foe. All have entered into its deadly game at some point or another. All have tasted its fruit. Most find it bitter, but some find it sweet. They do not recognize the poison they are consuming. Or maybe they do, and they are addicted to it.
Once again, hate has exposed itself. It flaunts and parades through another church wreaking havoc. Leaving devastation in its wake. It is deafening for a few moments and then silent, as we are left with the result of its rabid attack. Fading once again into the background, it coils up, waiting for the next strike. In the meantime, we are grieving. We are appalled. We weep for those who weep. Our tears seem to grow with every strike of this enemy of life. The horror of not having peace, even in places of worship, eats away at our hearts. Our friends and our neighbors are moaning at their losses because words fail. We reach out with sympathy, which seems too small and inconsequential to make any difference in the enormity of the pain.
Underneath, anger seethes because we want it all to stop. We are frustrated with our inability to impede this ancient foe. Thinking it is a new phenomenon is part of its plan. Its forked tongue flicks, taking the temperature of the environment. It watches our reactions to see if our minds are open to its influence. Thoughts, then words, then actions. It is a predictable progression. Every assassin has started with a few ideas which morph into perceived injustice. Words roll like a river, until in a frenzy they release into a deadly attack. The ageless foe, slinks into the shadows and waits for its next victim.
The way to crush the head of this enemy is to reach out, not shrink back. Walk out of fear, walk out of the superiority, walk out of the judgment, and love people. All people. The ones who cross your path every day, and those who may not be within your circles. Those who are different than you in race, in religion, and even in political persuasion. Those who are like you, and those who are not. A secret strategy, which when implemented across all persuasions, will slowly shift the undertow pulling us away from one another. Instead, the tide will rush in on the shores of respect and love.
Prayers for those in Pittsburg. That they would be comforted by God in their grief. That they would feel the love from the world. That fear would not rule or squeeze the life from their community. Open arms would embrace and hold them up as they grieve. Neighbors would affirm and surround them in this painful time. That memories of the horror would be erased, and restful healing sleep would come easily without nightmares. That the children would be comforted and strengthened by the adults in their lives. People everywhere would reach out in love which would be inspirational in its inclusiveness. Healing would begin. Today.