Easter teaches us hate is not solution
Published 12:10 am Sunday, March 27, 2016
A 3-year-old in your life tends to warp one’s perspective. Anna has enjoyed Easter so far, and for the most part, she remains oblivious to the deeper meaning and to the horrors of the world around her.
At the moment, Easter is this crazy thing we do that involves colorful, mostly plastic eggs and some surprises inside.
Yes, she knows portions of the actual Easter story from the Bible, at least portions of which she can grasp.
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But mostly, she’s blissfully happy with plastic eggs, bunnies and no real worries.
Wouldn’t it be nice if that were how the entire world worked?
Instead, we live in a world filled with hatred, some simply the schoolyard bully kind of stuff, like that which spews from some of our presidential hopefuls.
To see true evil incarnate, look toward the terrorist acts of the radical Islamic terrorist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaida.
Reports from portions of the Middle East harken back to scenes of the Old Testament Bible era.
Christians slaughtered because of their faith, some of which are so young most of us would consider them to be children.
Some are beheaded.
Still others are further tortured by being crucified, acts presumably intended to mock the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Our natural reaction is to become angry and seek revenge for such horrendous acts. It’s a natural instinct to respond to hatred with an equal amount of hatred.
Even purportedly Christian individuals often are quick to recommend responding to hate with a blanket of hatred.
It’s tough not to do so.
Clearly these people aim to destroy our society and terrorize and kill anyone in their way.
Fear of our on undoing is a powerful motivator. But perhaps today, Easter Sunday is a good time to reflect on what the Bible tells us our response should be.
The Pharisees tried to test Jesus by asking him which of the Old Testament commandments was to be considered the greatest.
They were trying to trick him.
But Jesus quickly had the answer.
Matthew 22:37 tells us he told them the greatest commandment was to love the Lord fully.
Despite the miracle of His resurrection, some of us still struggle with the complete and blind faith we are asked to have in Him.
What Jesus asks of us, as our primary mission — love God — seems so simple, yet remains a difficult thing, particularly as the world seeks to corrupt us daily.
As if the first commandment isn’t difficult enough, Jesus threw another curveball at us with the second greatest commandment.
The second, Jesus said, was to love other people as you love yourself.
If we struggle to love God, the God that provided everything to us, how on earth can we successfully love the other rotten human beings around us?
It’s difficult at times even with people who share commonalities with us.
Loving someone who looks different, talks different and believes in a completely different set of believes is even more difficult.
For us to love someone who wants to kill you, your family and your children in violent ways is nearly impossible even for the most devout of us.
But that’s exactly what Jesus commanded us to do.
He didn’t tell us to respond to hatred with hatred. In fact, Romans 12:17 suggests the exact opposite.
Sadly, we live in a world in which terrorists strike without much warning, and we all want to try and “solve” this ourselves, but no amount of counter-terrorism force can do it. What we need isn’t more firepower or intelligence. We need more love for God and love for others.
My hope and prayer is before Anna gets to be of an age in which she truly understands how complicated and evil the world is, more of us will stop trying to answer evil with evil and spend more time letting and asking God to drive the process.
Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or email@example.com.