“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
The news stories of the past couple weeks have been difficult to watch. From the war of words with North Korea, to the violent protests in Charlottesville, to the terrorist attack in Barcelona, we have been reminded that change is needed if we as a species wish to survive and experience peace. We are at a critical point in history and these events are bringing major issues to the forefront. People are concerned and scared about what the future will hold. Now is the time to ask if the way we have been doing things is working. This is not about who is right and who is wrong. Those are judgements. This is about asking does it serve us to threaten nuclear war on a country smaller than the size of Mississippi? Does it work to respond to hate with hate?
There is one thing in common with all people who hate. ISIS, Neo-Nazis, the KKK, Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump all share one quality. They are fearful. They are scared to lose something that they value. When we look at them as extremely scared individuals who are acting out in fear, it is easier to begin to have some compassion for them. Hating them will not change them, it will only lead to more hate. I believe that all people are good at their core. It is our innate human nature to be giving and caring and loving. When people hate, it is because they have forgotten who they are. They have been engulfed by their ego and taken over by fear. When we begin to become curious about what they are fearful about, we start to understand. On that level, healing begins as we are able to go under the rhetoric and address the real issues. It is no longer working for us to hate. We are all diverse individuals sharing one planet. When we begin to honor that diversity, and look for ways to show love and compassion to those who look and believe differently, the world will be at peace.
Martin Luther King, Jr. left us with many words of wisdom. Here are two more quotes from him which are just as appropriate now as when he spoke them:
“Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”
“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.”
Are we ready to change?