Words of Hate
Words of hate are filling some of our airwaves and social media networks. Words of hate are being used by some politicians as they talk about those who don’t agree with them. Words ad acts of hate are portrayed daily on television and in videos and movies.
As we have seen again this past week, words of hate often cause and contribute to acts of violence. We as people of faith cannot be indifferent to hateful speech. Our Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, but gives us also the responsibility of overcoming words of hate with words of love and care. The author of Proverbs said in Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”
It is time for us to deal directly with words and actions of hate and violence. Do not tolerate hateful activity or words within your family or community. Speak out against such. Become an advocate for reconciliation and mutual respect. Be alert to the political processes and ads within your state during this time of elections. Hate groups often cloak their agendas in respectable conservative words to gain control of government units including school boards and city councils.
Hatred of groups – of Jews, of gays, of women, of Muslims, of anyone different from me is often displayed with words, harassment and/or acts of violence including killing. It is sometimes hidden from friends or family, but at other times it is bragged about and appears on social media accounts. Hatred can be motivated by the desire for political power, for the need to “put someone in their place,” or even by religious beliefs.
Hatred is a taught emotion. Let us in our words and deeds, teach our children, our young people and each other Jesus’ message of love of all our neighbors in order to overcome the hate that is “alive and well” around us and among us.
In closing I encourage you to pray for those who have endured acts of hate this past week in their place of worship in Pittsburg; for those who were sent pipe bombs; and for those who were simply shopping in a grocery store in Kentucky. “Lord in your mercy, bring comfort.” And as Jesus taught, we also must pray for those who committed the acts of hatred – “Lord in your mercy, turn hate into love.”
I also ask you to pray the “Universal Prayer for Peace” from United Religions Initiative. May we join with our neighbors of different faiths to overcome hate with love.
Lead us from death to life,
From falsehood to truth;
Lead us from despair to hope,
From fear to trust;
Lead us from hate to love,
From war to peace.
Let peace fill our hearts, our World, our Universe.
Om, Shanti, Shalom, Salaam, Peace, Amen.
Joyce D. Sohl, Laywoman-in-Residence
Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.