Last night I said to my husband, “Maybe we and others like us have a responsibility in this. At first I thought this was a joke and nothing to pay attention to, but I think it’s not a joke. It’s real and we have some responsibility in letting it get this far.”
I was talking about the rise of presidential candidate Donald Trump in my country. Mr. Trump is the leading Republican candidate for president.
This morning as I prayed, tears ran down my face. How can so many people in my own country follow hate? Because that is what Mr. Trump speaks at every opportunity.
I keep thinking of the quote “All that it takes for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Is that what is happening? Are we good men and women letting evil triumph, mistakenly thinking this too shall pass, all the while doing nothing?
Many people reference Hitler and the Holocaust and compare the political climate today to that era, but we don’t have to go back that far. We only need go back to 1994 in Rwanda, where hate speech led the way to genocide.
I live every day in community, in friendship, in love with genocide survivors from Rwanda. It was them I thought of this morning as I cried. I have spent the last three years reading and studying the Rwandan genocide and listening to the survival stories of my friends.
Hate is a powerful motivator, and Mr. Trump knows it. He is no fool. He is cunning. But he is not a worthy leader. He is not leading. He is herding. He is herding my country down a tunnel of hate.
Yesterday I began N.T. Wright’s book, Reflecting the Glory, Meditations for Living Christ’s Life in the World. Mr. Wright begins powerfully with these words, “This is our vocation: to take up our cross, and be Jesus for the whole world, living with the joy and sorrow woven into the pattern of our days.”
This is not easy to, “be Jesus for the whole world.” I desperately want to put my head in the sand and forget there is a presidential campaign, forget there are mass shootings, forget there is terrorism, forget there is evil. But to do this would mean I am aiding and abetting that same evil. And I cannot live in daily contact with genocide survivors and turn my head away from the evil that is happening all around me. Right here in my country. In my home state. In my city.
When good men and women do nothing in the presence of evil, evil wins. Every time.
Are we okay with that?
Please, let’s be Jesus to a world desperately needing him. Let’s live his love and peace and hope to a world desperately wanting those very things. Sometimes it’s hard. Right now it’s harder than ever. Lately, every day feels like final exams in following Jesus. Will today be the day I fail? The day I give in to evil? The day I turn my head the other way so I don't have to watch as hate wins the day?
Please, let us love each other better. Let us love our enemies. Let’s love the people we are afraid of. Let’s love every follower of Trump and Mr. Trump himself so much that there is no room left for hate.
Please, let us love one another.
“Above all, love one another deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8