Friday, April 6, 2012

"Where there is hatred, let us sow love..."

This is part two in the Prayer of St. Francis series, the others can be found here.

"Where there is hatred, let us sow love."


It sounds so noble: to be loving in the face of hate.

I really don't like the word 'hate'. And I don't like the part of me that falls so easily into hateful behavior: like harsh words, cutting someone off, ignoring them.

How can I sow love when I'm reacting and being horrible, hateful?

By not reacting. By considering why I want to react. By knowing myself.

This is not remotely easy. I fall down a lot and have to apologize.

Which is why it's hilarious that none of my guest writers chose this line so I have to write about it.

Hate is a reaction. Love is a response. There's a third choice that is even worse: apathy.

Not acting in face of a wrong. Not speaking up in the face of someone being treated as inferior, as an animal, less than human.

But how to do this without using hateful language, without lashing out, without falling into despair that nothing will ever change?

How do you sow love when confronted with hate? How do you be love?

Especially in a world today that is so polarized with no room for discussion or compromise. It's Us vs. Them, Left vs. Right, etc etc.

Jesus shows us how to show love -- and in a way which is extraordinarily uncomfortable -- he submits.

The son of God could take out Pontius Pilate, the priests who wanted him dead, heck, the entire Roman Empire!

But what does Jesus do instead? He doesn't fight, he calmly holds his ground, speaking truth.

In the face of the hatred of the priests and the people, despite Pilate's offering to help him, he speaks truth. 

And then, at the end, when there is no more to be done, he forgives those who have conspired, condemned, beaten and mocked him.

He forgives extravagantly.

And that is how we sow love: calmly speaking truth and forgiving.

It isn't an easy task. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Maybe that's the first step. Asking God to forgive on our behalf first?

Forgiving so that we love instead of hate them right back, forgiving so that the truth can be heard, forgiving to sow the seeds of love so that hatred is banished forever.

Where there is hatred, let us speak truth.
Where there is hatred, let us forgive.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love.


(To read other posts in the Prayer of St. Francis series, click here.)

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