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2017-08-18 / Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”
By Brian Miller
HTF Columnist

“I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism. Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. To return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love.”

Martin Luther King Jr. talked much about love. He also talked much about forgiveness.

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

I wasn’t alive between 1963 and ’68 (or thereabouts) when King spoke those words, but I do know this: Love and forgiveness are sadly, sorely lacking in our society today just as I imagine they were a half-century ago. Fact is, in my lifetime, I’ve watched it dwindle, particularly in the last decade and precipitously in the last couple of years.

I’m generalizing here (something I hate, but I’m trying to make a point) but people don’t really love – unless it’s themselves. Just hop on Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat to check out the overload of self-seeking narcissists posting selfies (I’m guilty of a few of these myself) and all-but screaming “Look at me, look at me, look at me!” We’ve created selfish monsters by granting their every whim, constantly handing out something for nothing, rewarding just showing up rather than hard work.

People don’t forgive. They hold grudges and slander and troll and trample on others to “get theirs.”

King dreamed of a society where a person was judged on the content of their character, rather than the color of their skin. We’re far from that.

I tread lightly when it comes to politics, so I’ll attempt to make this as apolitical as possible. I’ll even address it to myself.

What is my obligation? When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

So I’m to love God and love my neighbor, which in effect, means others. There’s no addendum to it that says “Love them if they’re the same color, sex or religion as you.” No. It doesn’t matter. If it’s another human being, I’m to love them, no questions asked.

Admittedly, that’s not an easy thing to do. But “love overlooks a multitude of sins.” I’m talking real love here, the kind that doesn’t envy, puts others first, sacrifices. Love gives. Lust takes. There’s a big difference between the two.

With great sorrow, I watched the events unfold this past week in Charlottesville, VA. On one side, you had great hate based on skin color and ideology. On the other side, you had great hate based on skin color and ideology. Love was absent. Violence ensued.

The rhetoric of divisiveness from our leaders – past and present – and from the media which promulgates this message, which categorizes based on race, sex, religion, is a cancer that will kill this country from the inside.

The destruction and rewriting of history is depressing. Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it.

Love conquers all, so that is what I will choose to continue to do. I’m human, so I’m going to fail at it at times. There are a lot of unlovely individuals out there, and I’m including myself in that statement, because I know myself.

It doesn’t mean that I’m going to necessarily agree with you. But I’ll respect that you have the right to express your opinion, right or wrong as it may be.

I saw a meme last night. It said thus:

Birthplace: Earth.

Race: Human.

Politics: Freedom.

Religion: Love.

I believe we are all one blood, brothers and sisters, who are created equal in the eyes of God. I believe in freedom. I believe in love. It’s what Jesus taught. It’s what he demonstrated in his sacrificial death for the world. For me. For you.

I’ll end with a couple of more comments from MLK.

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

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

I’m going to challenge myself, every day, to love, unconditionally. I hope you will, too.

Until next time…

Brian Miller is a longtime local writer who resides in Eveleth. He welcomes glowing accolades and scathing reviews at brianm@htfnews.us.

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Beautifully written, Brian.

Beautifully written, Brian. Balm for the heart and soul. Well done. Jackie Metsa Cheves Frederick, Maryland

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