Love one enemy

So much hatred fills our world today.

It overwhelms me and leaves me feeling hopeless. 

It makes me ask myself:

What can I do in a world that feels so big, so out of control, so full of chaos and concerns?

Here is how I am trying to answer my own question.

The great writer and activist James Baldwin said:

“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense,

once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”

Once our hate is gone ...

we will be forced

to deal with our pain.

Truth.

Today, when I see hate or feel hate, I ask God to give me eyes to see the pain underneath that hate.

The rioters at our nation's capitol were filled with hate.

Rather than hate back - which I am deeply tempted to do - what if I asked myself:

What is the pain hiding underneath their hate?

And what if I also asked myself:

What is the pain hiding underneath my hate?

I have not known how to pray during the tumultuous days of this last week.

Words have failed me.

My thoughts are scattered, often ugly.

Fear rises; the unknown looms. I am tempted to label and to judge and to condemn, and yes, even to hate.

And so I have practiced simply sitting still,

asking God to give me eyes to see not only my own unattended pain, but the unattended pain of those who feel like enemies right now.

And I have asked for the grace - not to skim over wrongs or criminal acts - but to try to find a way to pick just one face out of the angry mob,

and to love them in the best way that I can.

Even from a distance. Even though I don't know their name. Even though we will never speak.

Because I believe that love is power.

And that using the power of love to intend good for our enemies, rather than evil, is the very pinnacle of love.

Jesus demonstrated this.

Jesus calls me to this.

So, this is where I will start.

I will love one enemy. I will try to look beneath the hate to find the pain.

Will you join me?