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“TOO GREAT A BURDEN TO BEAR”
by Maurice Hamel, ©2020
(Oct. 28, 2020) — Do you ever wonder, “what is going on in the world?” Why do we see such hatred in the national news? It is no longer just something that happens in Third World countries and in the Middle East. Suddenly there is no restraint in the streets of our cities. People feel they have license to come out after dark and riot and loot, because they feel they are victims of injustice. Politicians express hatred for not only the policies, but also the character and persons, of their opponents. You can see the hatred in their eyes as they speak and you can tell that most of what they are saying is not true. It is merely trying to further incite anger. What is going on? Where has civility gone?
More importantly, how are we to respond to such anger that may be lying beneath the surface in people around us?
Jesus required his followers to “Love each other as I have loved you.” Adding, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit. … If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15:12-20)
What we are seeing is not just the decline of civility, it is the decline of a civilization. As a culture we have gone too many years without teaching our young people to “love one another.” If they have never learned that God loves them, they have no example to follow. If they are being taught that they are victims who have the right to be angry, they are effectively being given license to hate.
Martin Luther King wrote, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” “I have decided to stick to love … Hate is too great a burden to bear.” “When all seems hopeless, men know that without hope they cannot really live, and in agonizing desperation they cry for the bread of hope.”
In Paul’s letter to the newly founded church in Roman, he wrote, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”
So, when you see trouble in the world and troubled people around you, while you may not be able to fix it, you can set an example for them and you can pray that God would work in their hearts in the same way that he has worked in your own. Those angry people are not that different from you, other than the fact that their hearts have not yet been softened to know and begin to respond to the love God has for them.
Maurice Hamel is a retired environmental scientist living on a small New England farm. He is author of “NATURE – GOD’S GROANING CREATION: Biblical Perspectives for the Environmentally Concerned” available through his website, healingtheland.org. He continues to write on the intersection of faith and world events, counseling husbands, devotional Bible study and “the need for people to grow in their relationship with God who loves them.”