Do Not Let Fear and Hate Win

I honestly don’t know where to start this. I’ve thought about this for the last 24+ hours since I’ve heard all the news, and I know I need to write something, but I don’t know where to begin. I’ll try to put my thoughts into words, but I don’t know how it will come out. I’m not even sure it will be coherent.
My heart hurts today. It hurts for families who have lost loved ones. It hurts for those who live in fear for their lives.
It all seems to stem from fear. Black people are afraid for their lives. Police officers fear retaliation from protesters. And we can’t seem to progress any further from the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s.
To quote an old, wise sci-fi character, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
As ridiculous as it may seem to quote Yoda in a post about current events, you can’t deny the truth of it. Fear has caused a lot of people in our country to become angry. And that angry is festering into hatred. Hatred of entire groups.
Fear is not inherently bad, but Satan loves to use fear to stir up people against each other. Fear can be a survival instinct so long as it is handled correctly. I see an angry bear. I’m afraid. I ran away and live another day. A misuse of fear, however, can produce some terrible results. Satan takes fear and turns it into hatred.
I was listening to a morning radio show discuss the Philando Castile shooting, and one of the DJs made the comment that the officer may have simply been afraid of black men, which caused him to lose his composure. From what I heard from the video that was captured, the officer certainly seemed to be unhinged and not in control. Now, I don’t know what happened prior to that and cannot speak to guilt on either side, which brings a whole new depth to the fear since many people don’t trust that the justice system will provide justice in these cases. I, for one, am very skeptical that even if these officers were truly guilty that no significant consequences would follow.
A lot of people keep throwing around the term “justified” in these incidents, but just because something is justified doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. I’m sure that the folks who have retaliated against the police feel justified in what they did as well. Heck, the folks in ISIS feel justified in what they do. And that’s what justification often brings, nothing more than retaliation and revenge.
There is another way.
Elijah feared for his life when he ran from Jezebel. Peter feared death when he denied he knew Jesus three times. The disciples lived in a state of fear after Jesus’s death. The early church members were persecuted and killed, and they lived in fear that they may die any day.
Yet all of them received reassurance from God that he was with them, and their fear subsided. Love replaced it. These people understood that there was so much more than their singular existence, and death was nothing to fear. Many of them died, some even excruciating deaths. But they didn’t stop doing what was right. We have to do the same.
Fear is taking control and turning our nation against itself, and if something doesn’t change soon, these terrible news stories will become daily occurrences. Fear, hate, retribution, and revenge cannot be what drives us day to day. Love, compassion, mercy, grace. These should rule.
I’m not trying to downplay the tragedies that have happened. I mourn with the families of all who have lost their lives these past few days. It’s how we respond to this that is the issue. Those who commit crimes should be brought to justice, whether they are random dudes on the street, a police officer, a judge, or even a presidential candidate. At the same time, hate and stereotyping cannot be the response.
Not all cops are bad, corrupt people. One bad cop does not represent the entire police force. The same is true everywhere. Judges, lawyers, teachers, business owners, nurses, politicians, pizza delivery folks, construction workers. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Atheists, Agnostics. Blacks, whites, hispanics, Asians, teenagers, old people.
There are bad people in any given group. We can’t succumb to hate, We can’t succumb to anger. We can’t succumb to fear. If we do, then we're living in a veritable Shakespearean tragedy where everyone dies by the end.
Love your neighbor. Mourn with those who mourn. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Bring peace to those who hate. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Love your enemies. Pray for those that persecute.
No, it’s not easy, but it’s necessary. Nothing could be more necessary in the world right now.
Let love win.

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