Iconic personalities that we know of in world history have gone through countless wars to achieve world peace. Ironic, isn’t it? Why do people need to kill each other for that most disputed truce? Why do people violently choose to fight when they can quietly choose to love?
“Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Speak well of those who curse you.” – Luke 6:27-28
It goes the same way with the challenges you face every day. When somebody attacks you, you have this tendency to protect and defend yourself. In order to do so, you have this urge to fight back. But I tell you, fighting back is not the answer. In fact, it is only the beginning of a never-ending conflict.
For all you know, the biggest of wars that divided many nations began with an act of cruelty that was repaid with the same kind of cruelty. And the same story goes on. Pride, selfishness, vengeance and hostility – these are what makes a war.
Learn from history, my friend. Love as long as you can.
“We are choosing love, not for an outcome but for the actual creation of a different reality, where cynicism cannot overshadow the real connection of Love. The norm is fear and separation, but Love is the greater reality. I don’t have to judge those who fear, I can feel compassion for them. There are wounded and traumatized people that continue to wound and traumatize others, as revenge. We don’t ignore the trauma or judge it. We find ways to heal through the revenge of Love.” These are the words of Eliyahu McLean, director of the Jerusalem Peacemakers, a network of religious leaders and grassroots peace-builders.
Last summer, right after three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered and a Palestinian youth was murdered in retaliation, McLean and his family were on a bus returning from Galilee to Jerusalem. The bus was attacked by angry Arab men throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks. People screamed in terror, windows shattered.
The next morning, still shaken up, but undeterred, McLean met with several others to prepare an interfaith gathering in Nazareth. That turned out to be a powerful event, with Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Israelis, and Palestinians, praying side by side and supporting one another. This was followed by a walk of love, holding hands and walking through streets that had witnessed a riot a day earlier.
When people come together in connection and harmony, in the midst of war and violence, that is the best revenge.
No. It’s not an easy thing to do. Our humanity reminds us of our imperfections, as well as our egotistic ways. But at the same time, it never fails to call our attention and tell us that humanity is also what makes us capable of loving.