The truth is, every day brings incredible joy and incredible pain. Last week we said goodbye to one of my dearest friends. Yet that day which brought extreme pain and sadness also brought laughter and joy. I held onto the love of my husband and children. I laughed with my friends. I smothered five year old David with kisses and grabbed on tight to him as he giggled.
At the memorial, I watched my young Congolese friends sing, and was awed by their courage and kindness.
A dear friend messaged me, “Why does this happen?” My first thought was, “The light has come into the world and the darkness cannot overcome it.” John 1:5 I thought, “I must do a better job of loving people.” Sure, I do a pretty good job of loving the people I already love. My family, my friends, my bigger family of Congolese refugees. But honestly I don’t do a good job of loving those I view as unloveable, unworthy. Where does that fit into my life?
Because we all own the hatred that has become commonplace in our country.
Since the last presidential election, which seemed to push us even farther away from each other, I have been asking God to help me truly love each person. Especially to help me love the person who appears to be the opposite of me. The person who doesn’t want refugees in our country, the person who attends a White Supremist Rally, the person who wants to hurt my gay friends.
I can be so quick to judge. It feels like my right because I’m the "better person.” I’m so quick to blame. So quick to believe I am, of course, the kinder person because of how I voted or who I spend time with. But since I’ve begun praying specifically for these feelings to break down, for my heart to embrace anyone I previously considered unlovable, a strange thing has happened. I have actually begun to love those I previously allowed myself to hate. This is only Jesus. This isn’t me.
I hope we will accept that we are all the same. All deserving of love. I hope we will all look around and love those who believe differently. I hope we will become uncomfortable listening to anyone speaking badly about those “on the other side.” That we will stop those conversations, those jokes that seem so funny but really are just cruel. I hope we will choose to love.
Only love can eradicate hate. There is no other way. There is no MY way that fixes this broken world. There is only the way of Jesus. And that way is love.
I hold onto this as I open my heart each day to the incredible joy and the terrible sadness that is every day life.