Christmas upon us, love should be the focus of this
holiday meditation. Love came down at Christmas. Without
love, there would be no Christmas.
I want to think about the opposite reality. What is
the opposite of love? Hatred? No, it is fear. We have
never really understood this. And because we don't see
the relationship between fear and love, the world continues
to move along destructive paths.
Bible makes it clear -- "There is no fear in love;
perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has
not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid."
[I John 4:18] If a new age is ever going to dawn, we
have to learn the meaning of this passage.
following meditation contains very broad generalizations.
As we know, generalizations are only partly true. But
in order to paint a large picture, we have to use a
contrast between love and fear can often be seen in
two opposing political parties. One party is interested
in protecting the rights of the individual, the other
in looking out for the welfare of the masses. The first
motivation - getting all I can and making sure that
I keep it, regardless of the needs of my brother - can
be seen as selfish. The second motivation - to create
a great society, to do away with inequity, to be certain
that no one is left behind - can be seen as generous
and loving. If I am in the first group, I am always
afraid that someone will come along and take from me
what I have gained for myself. Thus, fear separates
me from the concerns of others. If I am in the second
group, perhaps I already understand that we are all
one in God, that God has provided us with enough for
everyone, and that it is our divine duty to make sure
that the distribution of his gifts is equitable.
it is the first group, the fiscal conservatives, who
are the most conservative religiously. It is this group
which proclaims most loudly its adherence to Jesus and
his message of love. And yet, ironically, its gospel
is one of fear. They talk of a God who will punish in
hell anyone who does not accept their theology. They
worship an Old Testament God who speaks of an eye for
an eye, but they fail to acknowledge that Jesus, whom
they so publicly confess, overturned that law. They
are the ones who have divided the world into friend
and foe, and who see enemies lurking in every corner.
Michael Moore detailed this clearly in his film, "Fahrenheit
911." Fear wins elections and sells papers. Fear
also allows the government to erode personal freedom
under the pretext of protecting its helpless citizens.
age of peace will never come while this kind of thinking
is in power. It is fear which got us into Iraq. It is
more than fear, it is paranoia, it is hubris, now that
we know that Iraq posed no credible threat to us. Fear
is destroying lives, civilian as well as military. Fear
is elevating the level of mistrust in the world. Fear
is wasting resources on destructive measures which might
better be used to improve the lives of human beings.
troubles in Northern Ireland didn't stop until someone
made the first move to end the cycle of violence. It
was not conservatives who did so. It was groups whom
conservatives sneeringly call bleeding heart liberals.
Conservatives view that kind of love as a sign of weakness.
But demonstrating for peace rather than agreeing to
continued violence is not weakness. Stepping up to be
the first one to turn the other cheek rather than gouging
out one more eye in response to the last eye lost, takes
incredible courage. That is the continuing problem in
the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Both sides fear that
if they stop seeking retribution, they will be destroyed.
Martin Luther King was a liberal, a New Testament Christian,
facing diehard conservatives who still worshipped the
Old Testament God of vengeance. And you know who won
do you suppose that Jesus praised the merciful and the
peacemakers? Why do you think he said that it is the
meek, and not those anxious for revenge, who will inherit
the earth? The world moves one step closer to the Kingdom
every time someone chooses love over fear.
not give the world a real Christmas gift this year.
Why not analyze your motives, and root out those based
on fear. Humanity needs more lovers.
John W. Sloat 2004