Love Is Enough
A state legislator, trying to justify raffling off an assault rifle at a fundraiser, proclaimed, “You can’t combat this kind of hatred (mass shootings) with overwhelming love. There is only one way to combat this…that’s either to remove or neutralize these individuals.”
Yet being Christians, isn’t “overwhelming love” required of us, even with our enemies?
“You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete. Matthew 5:43-48 (CEB)
But is love enough? In a decade of mass shootings and suicide bombers, is love a powerful defense against self-hatred turned outward?
Love was never meant to be a “defense” against evil. Love has always been an offensive action against bigotry, anger and hurt. (Double entendre intended.)
As Jesus tells us in verse 44, love is an action as much as praying for your enemies is one. It is not a weapon. It is a verb.
Love IS Enough
So what does love do?
In a moment of violence love is the mother out with her son for a night of dancing, throwing herself in front of him taking the terrorist’s bullet. In another, love is a teacher shielding her students.
But love is at its most powerful before situations have deteriorated to the point of bloodshed. It is in the act of loving people continuously that we prevent them from becoming so filled with self-hatred that it spills over into hating others.
We must love these people who seem unlovable. It is in loving that we can combat violence and hatred. Love is enough.
This type of love is not a superficial love. We are talking about a deep visceral love that makes miracles happen. Not in some magical sort of way but like the love shown at other nonviolent protests that have taken place and changed the world. The kind of love that brings people together to become the beloved community, taking care of all God’s children. This is the kind of love all of us can exhibit towards each of us. This love is enough.
We must ask ourselves how we could have loved these people before they lost sight of their divinely inspired humanity. Perhaps if we can answer that question, the need for guns will be obsolete.
Should we try?