Child buried alive pulled out of rubble after air strike
Syria – January 2014
Photo Credit: The Sun
No, it’s not a typo error or a slip of the tongue. In this neocolonial world we live in, hate trumps love. The latest hate speech by a business-magnate-turned-politician, aiming for presidency of the world’s only superpower, is proof of this reality. What’s even more disturbing is that he has a large following bubbling over with the same brand of hate.
Exposed to different religious beliefs in my native land Guyana, I have learned to embrace all religions. But, owing to my Catholic upbringing, my first thoughts in the face of such hate speech were the teachings of Jesus. And, for Christians who celebrate Christmas, this is the perfect time to reflect on the significance of his birth.
Jesus came into this world to save humankind (Luke 2: 9-14). That was a tall order. What’s more, he had to lose his life to accomplish his mission. Considering the price he paid in taking on our humanity, Christians who accept Jesus as their savior shouldn’t take his teachings lightly. He summed up the way to harmonious human relationships in one word: love. First, love of God; second, love of neighbor as oneself (Matthew 22: 34-40). Hate nailed him to a cross.
Over the centuries, those in power have used hate to transform our beautiful planet into hellish living spaces. The neighbors we should hate have changed with the times. Today, they include Muslims and refugees from violence and wars. Just like the business-magnate-turned-politician, the power-elite spread hate through fear, bigotry, and xenophobia. They reward their hate-enforcers with material wealth, status, and dribbles of power. Those who love their neighbors are silenced, marginalized, ridiculed, locked up, tortured, persecuted, all the foregoing, or killed. Hopelessness among oppressed peoples can extinguish love of oneself.
The gods and the prophets who have walked among us knew what was at stake. Individuals like the business-magnate-turned-politician fuel the dark, self-destructive side of our nature with their hate speech. Until love trumps hate, there is no hope for the survival of our species. Loving our neighbor is not easy. I know that well.
The Apostle Paul breaks down the challenges loving our neighbor entails (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7):
Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.