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A World Filled With Hatred
For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, and not be like Cain who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not wonder, brethren, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But if any one has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.
We live in a world filled with hatred. One need only look on any news media site to see far too many exemplars of man’s capacity for hate and man’s capacity for violence.
We live in a world filled with hatred.
When we look at the images coming out of Israel and Gaza, the barbaric and brutal images showing the aftermath of Hamas’ attack on Israel, and the slaughter of men, women, and children at several Israeli kibbutzim, how can we not recoil in horror in the pure hatred on display?
Sadly, the images are out there. The carnage at Kibbutz Be’eri has been memorialized by the Internet. The slaughter at Kibbutz Kfar Aza will not be forgotten by the Internet. I will not show those images here—no purpose will be served by reveling in their horror. There are links to the news articles with these images. Look on them if you wish.
They are images of hatred.
What do we do in the face of such implacable hatred? How do we respond to such evil? How should we respond?
Truthfully, I do not know. There are many problems I am able to solve, but the hatreds and corruptions within the human heart are not among them.
What I do know is that none of us are called to hatred. None of us are called to practice violence upon one another. All of us are called to treat all humanity with love, with compasion, and with respect.
It is not merely that the Bible tells us this time and again. Our own common sense tells us this. Simple logic tells us this. The Non-Aggression Principle tells us this. One does not need sacred scripture to know this to be true.
Surely we should then strive for peace even in Gaza. Even now, as the IDF is preparing its retaliation against Hama by invading Gaza, we should strive for peace.
Yet when we do, it seems we are met with more hatred.
During a social media exchange regarding Hamas’ attack on Israel, I posted the following:
Whether people are decent or not is not for us to say. That judgement is reserved to God alone.
We are called to stand for what is right.
Hamas will inevitably be judged by God for what they have done. Hamas supporters will inevitably be judged by God for what they have done. Israel supporters will inevitably be judged by God for what they have done. You and I will inevitably be judged by God for what you and I have done.
This is the order of things.
Let us stand for what is right. Let us stand for what is good. Let us ultimately stand for peace. Ultimately, there must be peace, and the sooner we get there the better it will be for everyone.
Was I right to do so? It was what I had to say in that moment.
Right or wrong, it was met with still more hatred.
What are you smoking? There has never been peace and never will be peace!!! If you want to talk about God and being judged at least know a few things. Muslims believe in Allah not God. Religion is man made God gave the world 10 commandments. Since Muslims don’t believe in God maybe the don’t believe in the commandments. But we should all believe in treating people good. The killing of children let’s you know how hamas thinks. Not all Muslims are bad but for this to stop everyone needs to take a stance against it. You are correct I believe about judgement but Bible also says eye for eye and tooth for a tooth. The taking of civilians lives is unacceptable.
I wish I could say I kept to the high road in that exchange. Unfortunately, I probably did more to further that person’s anger with my jibes—I rarely have the good sense to leave such things alone. Did I respond with the love and compassion I am rightly praising here? Not really.
Another writer I know has written about being the target of some vicious anti-Semitism for her commentary about events in Israel, and she is not even Jewish!
Hatred, it seems, is everywhere.
What do we do? How do we answer the call to love and compassion when everyone around us is filled with hatred?
Ultimately, my social media comment was spurred not by any particular burst of insight, but rather by not knowing what else to say. I still do not know what else to say.
Surely we should not stand idly by and let evil men practice their violence upon others.
In Deuteronomy 32:35 we are taught that vengeance belongs to God alone; it is not for us to seek revenge upon others.
Vengeance is mine, and recompense,
for the time when their foot shall slip;
for the day of their calamity is at hand,
and their doom comes swiftly.
In Romans 12:14-21, the Apostle Paul exhorts us to put aside thoughts of anger and retribution against those who do wrong.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
How can we even suggest that the Israelis do nothing in the face of Hamas’ violence? How could we with a straight face suggest that it would be best to leave Hamas’ punishment for their crimes to God, and seek to, as Paul recommends, “overcome evil with good”?
How would that even work? How would Hamas not view a non-response by Israel as anything but further encouragement to further violence?
If we must answer the call to compassion even to the followers of Hamas, how do we show that compassion? Is it enough compassion to offer medical aid to one you have just fought and wounded in battle? Is it still compassion to insist there be consequences in this world for what Hamas has done?
I wish I had the answer. I do not.
What I do know is that Israel is responding to Hamas’ violence, and will with further violence continue to respond. Whether that is the right response or no that is the response that will happen. There will be more death, and more pain, and more suffering.
What I also know is this: eventually, there must be peace. Eventually, the guns must fall silent. Eventually the killing must cease. Whether that happens because there is no one left in Israel or Gaza to kill or because something else intervenes to put a stop to the killing I could not say, but, one way or another, the violence will end.
Surely it is better if we can move quickly to that peace, if we can shorten the time between now and when the killing stops. Surely we do the world great good if we can find a way for both Palestinian and Israeli to live side by side in peace.
I am certain that pursuing peace even in Israel and Gaza is the right path for humanity to take. I am certain that, despite all the hatred and all the violence, there must still be love and compassion for Palestinian and Israeli alike. Despite all that has transpired, we must still find a way to reach out to everyone with love. In every part of my being, I know this to be true.
All of that I do know.
How we do that I do not know.
The world is filled with hatred, and I do not know how to stop it. I only know that it must be stopped.
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