The Path of Love …

As my regular readers know, I have a HUUUUUUUUUUUGE passion for fostering relationships and communication between those with whom we disagree.  One of my readers sent me a link to an article that a family member shared with her.  The article is titled “Why I Do Not Hate Donald Trump”.  It was written by someone who – according to this world’s standards – would have ample reason to do that.  Here’s a link to the article: “Why I Do Not Hate Donald Trump”.  I hope you’ll take time to read it.

Here’s a few things that moved me about the article.

First, the message was put forward by someone you would NOT expect to write this article (i.e. someone easily identifiable on the Left or someone who works in a field you would expect such an article to come from).  By it’s very nature, the article challenges many of the assumptions about who would advance such a position – and whether or not such a position is viable “in the real world”.

Second, the article contains elements that show powerful honesty and profound vulnerability.  When the author talked about his long-time resistance to reading Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” – and his eventual willingness to read it – it reminded me how often I tend to read/absorb only material I expect to agree with.  Opening oneself to read/listen to the positions of those we perceive of as our opponents takes a lot of strength and moral courage.  For many of us, it’s a life-long process to develop the ability to do that.  Jim Baker modeled that willingness to grow – even in one’s later years!

And third, I think Jim Baker BEAUTIFULLY captures why the path of love is so much better than the path of hatred.  Here’s a portion of what Baker wrote.  “Loving someone with whom you disagree or whom you do not admire holds the potential for transforming that person for the better. But even if it appears to have no effect on the other person, loving transforms and frees the person who loves. It allows one to set down the exhausting weight of hatred, anger and disappointment. It is a proactive act. It means taking control of the situation. The reaction of President Trump and his supporters to love is inconsequential. By loving them—whether they accept, or reject, or mock the sentiment—the president’s opponents can move toward an agenda that they set, hopefully one that seeks to unite and serve all Americans. The Dalai Lama says that “[w]orld peace can only be based on inner peace. If we ask what destroys our inner peace, it’s not weapons and external threats, but our own inner flaws like anger. This is one of the reasons why love and compassion are important, because they strengthen us. This is a source of hope.”

So what does Jim Baker’s article raise for you?  In asking that question, I want my readers to know that my tendency NOT to respond to comments does not indicate I don’t appreciate or value your perspectives.  Rather, my goal is to simply start the conversation and then let others carry it forward.  My hope is that in this increasingly hostile and polarized world we can find our way back into relationship with one another.  Even with those whom we disagree!

About Pastor Craig

I'm a 54-year-old who lives in Los Angeles, CA with his black Labrador Retriever named Max. I'm an ordained clergy person in the United Church of Christ. My passions include spirituality, politics, and sports (Go Houston teams, go!). I use my blog to start conversations rather than merely spout my perspectives and opinions. I hope you'll post a question, comment, or observation for me to respond - so we can get the conversation started!
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4 Responses to The Path of Love …

  1. Beverly Marshall Saling says:

    I guess it depends on what you mean by “love.” That word has so many meanings to so many people that it’s important to clarify which one you’re using.

    I believe that in asking us to love our enemies, Jesus was asking us to extend to them the same kind of human understanding we might have for someone we don’t know. Most of us are pretty good about that sense of loving others when it’s in the abstract—understanding the suffering of nameless strangers facing natural disasters or economic collapse or illness, and wanting to help them get through hardships common to our shared humanity. It gets a lot trickier when the person we are being asked to love is someone who opposes us, supports policies that hurt us, maybe even wishes harm on people like us.

    In that situation I think the kind of love we owe them is not necessarily the “unconditional support” kind, but rather the kind that seeks understanding and holds space for growth, but also sets healthy boundaries. For example, love requires us to consider how a person’s history and situation impact the way they choose to treat us, but it doesn’t require us to accept abuse from them just because we understand where it’s coming from. Love requires us to do right by our enemies, but not in a way that empowers them to harm us or others.

  2. Olivia Brancusso says:

    The Dalai Lama rocks!! If only he ruled the world.

  3. Stevie says:

    Love the Dalai Lama. To me, love can do no harm. Ever. And we know what hate has done.

  4. Andrea Frazer says:

    “Opening oneself to read/listen to the positions of those we perceive of as our opponents takes a lot of strength and moral courage.” Working on this. (And I think you should comment. Not that you are asking. But I do love a good moderator!) Thank you for this!

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