Anger cannot drive out anger
Regular columnist Philip Young laments at the levels of hate and anger in world politics at the present time, and society appears to ignore the teachings of Jesus.
If there was such an instrument as a hate-meter to measure the amount of hatred and anger in our politics, then the reading would be rather high at the moment.
In Britain and America during 2016 the vote for BREXIT and the vote for Donald Trump have internally divided both our countries. In both cases the vote was not far off a 50/50 split and there is no indication that the wounds are healing or will be healed very quickly.
For those of us who view social media frequently the venom and hatred of one side for the other has never been greater. We need to find common ground. We all need to calm down and to see if we can all work together for the common good.
This is where Jesus’ teaching to love our enemies suddenly becomes highly relevant. If we continue to view the other side as our enemies and if we fight them with anger and hatred, then the future begins to look very bleak. We must not answer the anger of one side with a reactionary anger from the other. This way will lead to the anger-meter rising even higher, and is likely to end up in violence and war.
We now need to listen urgently to the words of Martin Luther King, pictured above, when he said:
‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that’
If you believe that love, compassion, empathy, and wisdom are the most important and strongest forces in the world then now is the time for you to be active.
Those who are full of anger and hate are not in a good position to alter anything for the better. Their actions will just build walls, and ramp up the likelihood of trouble further down the line.
Therefore, it is important that those who are in a position to offer love, compassion, empathy and wisdom do so urgently and with conviction. Love is the strongest force in the world and love builds the kind of society that is worth having. More hate or anger will drive us into a very sad and dangerous kind of society where no one is, or feels safe.
Jesus, hanging on the cross, looks with compassion on those who have put him there and says, ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing’ (Luke 22:34). By following anger and acting out of anger none of us knows what we are doing or where it will lead us.
Jesus showed us the way of love and compassion, and has taught us that we must love one another. I believe we are put on this earth to learn the way of love. In these days when there is so much anger around the only way to break the vicious cycle is to follow the path of forgiveness and love.
Will you follow that path and help bring down the reading on the hate-meter?
Philip is an Anglican, Quaker, and a member of the Third Order of Franciscans. He moved to Felixstowe two years ago. Until July 2014 he was the Diocesan Environmental Officer for the Norwich Diocese. He is now a freelance writer on spiritual and political matters. He is available to run Quiet Days, give talks, presentations or to preach and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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