Spread Love not Hate

by Karen Knudtson, posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2017

 

This month we celebrated the life of Martin Luther King who was a minister, activist, and a leader in the advancement of civil rights with non violent and civil disobedience based upon his Christian beliefs. Today, I am reminded of his words: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” I have great concern that this past election has eroded civility in our country where rudeness, disrespect, and hate will become the norm.

This past Friday we celebrated the inauguration of our new president Donald Trump whose public persona is a rude, disrespectful, reality star and business tycoon. This is in stark contrast to the character of Martin Luther King and Barack Obama who led this country with integrity, respect and grace. This is not a comment about political ideology but the contrast in the character of the man and how they conduct themselves.

Our new president unabashed, insults women, makes fun of the disabled, alienates immigrants, retweets racist and anti-Semitic images, bullies and shames others who disagree with him. There was nothing in his inaugural speech that was conciliatory towards the millions of voters who did not vote for him. His New Year tweet was “Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!”

My concern with a president who easily name calls and bullies is that some feel that this gives them the license to do the same. I personally have encountered name calling, hate, fear, and frankly I am weary. When did we become so hateful, so uncivil, so unkind? We don’t have to agree with our neighbor but we should put kindness and respect at the forefront of our conversations. Ask yourself, do I love, do I respect, or do I bully, dishonor, and tear down those who disagree with my religion or ideology.

“Violence begets violence and judgment begets judgment. We are not seeing one another. Instead, we are seeing us and them — self and other. Our vision has become clouded and in those clouds the light of love and the possibility for connection, for dialogue, for change is being shadowed by fear.”…………. Sojourners

We the people are greater than fear. Go ahead, discuss, disagree, debate, take action but consider your words, your reaction to one another. Choose’ love over hate’ and take action. When you encounter someone tearing down another, be bold, speak up, defend human decency. Respect your neighbor because we our one, humanity, God’s creation. Our children and grandchildren are watching, what example will we set before them?

“This country is about the people who live here. It’s you. It’s how you treat one another, it’s the tone you set that will define who we are.” James Corden