Last night our community held a prayer vigil for the victims of hate in Charlottesville, VA. I was asked to speak, and I wanted to share with you what I said.
First of all, we must all understand that we are here this evening celebrating love, celebrating life, celebrating the goodness and joy of community. To a very lesser extent, we are also mourning and weeping over the presence of hate and a young girl named Heather who was senselessly killed by hate. I say to a lesser extent, because I will never allow hate to have a greater power and influence in my life than love.
At these times, when we’ve gathered to remember the consequences of hate, it is right to pause and ask, “What can we do? What is the answer?” Before we ask that question, we must seriously consider what the problem isn’t.
It is not a “We need to pass a new law” problem. It is not a communication problem. It is not an education, school, teacher or college problem. It is not a black vs. white, left vs. right or republican vs. democrat problem. It is a spiritual problem.
Of course, we all have problems with people. Some of us here this evening have problems with people we work with in the same company. Some of us have problems with people who are at our same school, same grade, same class. Some of us have problems with people who play on the same team.
Now it is time for me to do some meddling. Some of us have big problems with people we go to the same church with. Some of us have problems with people in our own family.
So what is my point?
It is not a societal problem we are facing; it is a spiritual problem. Cain hated his brother Abel and there were only four people in the world, of the same race, in communication with the same God! We will not bring a resolution to the difficulties in our society until we resolve to cure our own spiritual difficulties. And that starts with our heart and our relationship with God.
When we see God as He truly is, we see people as He created us to be, and it is then that hate is displaced by the love of God. That is the answer to what has happened in Charlottesville, in Baltimore, in Ferguson, yesterday in Barcelona, and, to a smaller extent, even in Independence, Kansas.
We can remove all the flags, statues and symbols we want. But if we don’t remove the hate in our hearts and replace it with the Holy Spirit of God almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, we will remain only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.