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This man is standing with his back turned to people that openly show hostility and hatred towards him. These people would likely have him dead at any given chance they could get away with it. There’s a man holding a anti-semetic sign in one hand and a confederate flag in the other while one man is giving a nazi salute and another is dressed in KKK garb. Yet, there he stands, not only with his back to them, but to protect them. That’s what a hero looks like. That is what love looks like.

It takes bravery to do what this man does for a living. His job is to lay down his life in service, whether it’s for someone with good intentions or not. This is what he does to regularly to put food on the table. Everything could potentially be taken away from him in an instant, but there he stands. It’s men like him that are going to turn the tide of bigoted attitudes towards people of color, not violent protests.

You cannot kill an ideology with hatred. An ideology in and of itself is something that’s immaterial. It exists outside of the physical world. It’s in a person’s thoughts and in a person’s heart. If you cause a person with a dangerous ideology, that doesn’t stop it from advancing in the thoughts and hearts of others. In some cases, the anger and hurt left in the wake of wars on harmful ideology can actually cause it to grow and advance, rather be silenced and defeated.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.” – MLK

MLK is another modern hero, well known for refusal to engage with those that hated him with violence and hatred. What he did sparked a dream for generations to come to dream also. Hand in hand, putting to shame those that opposed him and his supporters in the past and for generations to come.

He looked into the eyes of enemies that persecuted him and saw them as men and women with lives of equal value and dignity. He envisioned a world in which we could live alongside one another sharing that brotherhood and he died for it, but his dream lives on to this day.

I believe the reverend drew from two things to anchor him in his resolve: firstly, Genesis 1:27, which establishes the equality of all men and women from the very beginning; and Matthew 22:36-40 in which Jesus answers what the greatest commands are: love for God and love for neighbor. Maybe 1 Peter 4:18 motivated him, in which Peter shares that love covers a multitude of sins. Regardless of what verses inspired him, his mark has been made.

Christians, this isn’t the first time we’ve had this kind of display rock the world. Think of the original 12 disciples. All of them less one died gruesome deaths. The only one that died a natural death lived his life scarred and outcasted. What did God do with the love they had for people that hated them? He set the entire known world on fire! No matter how many people were set ablaze alive, thrown into lion’s dens, or crucified, the spread of Christianity could NOT be contained. The very people that wanted Christianity stopped at all costs eventually became followers of Christ themselves. If you would like something in the current time that God has worked through this kind of love, He’s got you covered there too.

China, in which people are killed for being Christians, is experiencing a boom in underground churches. Under the looming threat of arrest and/or death, the numbers of professing Christians is growing instead of declining. The momentum is swinging in favor of the Christians so much that China is actually projected to become the biggest Christian nation in the world.

I’ve said all that simply to say that if you have a problem with hate groups, you not only have to call their evil to repentence and oppose it at every opportunity, but you MUST love them with equal fervor. That’s what’s going to kill hate fueled ideology. Love! Martin was right in his following in the steps of Christ. We’re only going to see a decline in open hatred by responding in open love.

If you’re anything like me, you’re wondering just how to effectively do that to people that don’t like you for whatever reason.

 

 

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