‘Hate is too great a burden to bear’
“I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.” — Booker T. Washington
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness … Anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.” — 1 John 2:9, 11
A sign posted at my niece’s wedding recently told guests, “Pick a seat, not a side; You’re loved by both the groom and bride.”
People love to pick sides. Nowhere is it more evident than in politics.
For once — oh, please, just for once — when a candidate speaks (or others speak for him or her), let it be about what they plan to do and how they plan to do it. Stop telling everyone who might listen how terrible your opponent is. Stop pointing out all their flaws, who they used to be or what they said to someone 20 years ago, or if they ever drank or said something or looked at someone or whatever. Focus on … drum roll for a novel idea here … yourself.
Everything else is name calling, building straw men just to burn them down, tilting at windmills, children bouncing up and down in their seats at school waving their hands so they can tell the teacher that another student had gum.
I am so sick of it I wonder why it seems so very few others are. It seems to all boil down to hate, pure and simple.
If we must hate anything, let it be hate itself.
If we must be prejudiced against anything, let it be prejudice itself.
We recently had a vote at our church to hire someone for a position. The vote was 97 percent for, three percent against. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t personally like the employee, so they must have voted “no” for other reasons — they thought someone else would be a better choice for the position, they didn’t like the pay package, or something. They simply disagreed in such a way that they felt they should cast a negative vote. The proper thing to happen at this point is for whoever voted in that way to nevertheless support the employee in his/her endeavors at that position. I have no reason to believe anything else than this will happen.
And I certainly pray it will not.
Since I was born, there have been nine U.S. presidents: Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush senior, Clinton, Bush the younger, Obama and Trump. Which ones have been my presidents? All of them. I cast my first vote while Reagan was in office. I didn’t vote for each one who served. But each one has been my president because he has been the Commander in Chief of my country.
So I prayed for him.
I prayed that God would bless, provide, direct, give wisdom to, work through and in each person who has held that office since I understood as a child that we were to pray for our leaders.
I have not liked nor have I supported every choice a sitting president has made. I find it hard to believe I would ever find myself in that situation. But I have nonetheless prayed. I have spoken out when I felt it was necessary, written letters when I felt I should, and voted my spirit and conscience.
I have not backed down from doing what I believed was right.
And part of what I believe is right is loving others, and praying for our leaders.
I don’t know if “your candidate” won any recent election. But whoever won in whatever race, whoever now fills a seat that affects you and yours, he or she is “your” elected official.
Pray for them. Speak your conscience. But don’t neglect your obligation to pray for and love others.
Read the signs — don’t pick sides in hate. Just pick a seat.
Brett Campbell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.