Choosing Love Instead of Hate
When you refuse to escalate the violence, you are, in fact, “doing good to those who hate you.”
What does it look like to “refuse to escalate the violence?” It is hard to imagine that, isn’t it, since we have so many media images of the opposite. We see and perhaps even experience violence of all kinds—gun violence, drug violence, domestic violence, hate crimes.
Doing good to those who hate is quite challenging. No one says it is easy. But Jesus did offer some difficult and practical advice about how to do unto others as God does to us. And we have modern day examples of persons who modeled that there is power in non-violence. Martin Luther King, Jr., St. Oscar Romero, Sister Dorothy Stang, and Pope Francis are among the persons who come to mind.
Studying how they preached and more importantly how they lived, offers us insight into what Luke’s gospel is calling us to in loving our enemies.
Many years ago I had the opportunity to visit The King Center in Atlanta. There I learned Martin Luther King, Jr.’s six principles of nonviolence.
- Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
- Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.
- Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people.
- Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform.
- Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.
- Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.
I have those principles hanging on the wall. Some of them I know by heart. Others are slowly converting my heart. Will we choose love over hate?