Hate is not the enemy. Hate is unaddressed anger, bound up with contempt. Address the habit of hate in yourself, but do not spend precious energy attacking it elsewhere. Hate is not the enemy.

Despair is the enemy. Despair is hopelessness, loss of vision, fatigue, loneliness. Despair gives up its power, bows low to tyrants. Despair allows bullies to bluster and bludgeon. Despair is the enemy.

Cynicism is the enemy. Like hate, cynicism is bound up with contempt, but it emerges not from anger but from failed hope, the absence of tenderness. Cynicism stands by and sneers, calls all evils identical. Cynicism is the enemy.

Love wins, not because it is sweet, but because it is good. Love is choosing to act on behalf of goodness and kindness. Love is willing the good of others even when we ourselves seem to lose out.

Love is fierce, and feisty. Despair and cynicism are the hovels where cowardice resides, where action resigns. Love is courageous. Love acts.

Beloveds, lovers: we must fight against the tide of hate, anger, contempt, cowardice. We fight by whispering words of encouragement and hope. We fight by proclaiming the vision we see, the assurance of what we know to be true. We fight by being tender when others are sharp. We fight by standing. We fight by intervening when others are being injured. We fight through the power and strength and permanence of love.

If you are a follower of Jesus, if you have ever thought that maybe, just maybe he is who is says he is; if you have even fleeting moments in which you believe that the way he gives us to live is right and true and good; then you must remember this: love has already won. Love has already won. Our task, our difficult and sometimes lonely task, is to embody that love, to call upon the Spirit who lives in us and beg it to rule over us. Our call is to deny despair its day, to root out the sneering cynic within us.

Hate has been around since Cain. If meeting hate with hate, or strategy, or bullying, or bluster were going to win, the battles of earthly existence would long be over. No: love has the victory, and we are warriors, Amazons, of the King of love.


14 June 2016