1st John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Dearly Beloved: May God’s grace, peace, love and glory be ever upon you. I want to talk to you about the oldest and most lethal disease known to mankind. Hate! It is a disease that is both deadly and highly contagious. Hate and evil are one. If we embrace hate, then we embrace evil. When we allow hate to take over our minds, we become accomplices to evil. The very act of hating invokes evil in us and gives us license to condone the darkness of this world. Hate turns us into instruments of evil. We become mindless tools and pawns. As if black clay, we can be shaped, molded and ultimately malformed by hate. I have been faced with so much hate these past three and some odd years. Only love can shield us from hate. If it were not for the love of Christ, I may have been consumed by hate; enveloped in the total darkness of evil. I may have become spiteful and devoid of light; angry and full of pain. My heart may have been a sub-zero slab of stone. Let me tell you, my beloved, it is so easy for any one of us to fall victim to hate; so easy to succumb to the darkness – especially when we are faced with such great adversity such as I am now. As a person of color, in many ways, I have always faced great adversity.
There are, in my opinion, only two forces at work in this world – love and hate. Every emotion, every action or reaction are byproducts of them. Love is of light and hate of the darkness. Love brings peace and hate causes disruption. Love gives us morality, while hate causes us to act immorally. Loves makes us selfless, while hate makes us selfish. Love is stability, while hate makes us unbalanced. Love make us strong, while hate makes us weak. Love brings joy; hate, only sorrow. Love breeds life; hate, only death. Love is constructive; hate destroys. Love is God; hate is the devil. The great news is that love is infinitely more powerful than hate. Love and hate are choices. We can either choose to love or choose to hate. I have chosen to love rather than hate in my current predicament. Let me assure you that such is not easy to do.
As I am writing this, I had been waiting for a visit. I took a pause just now to call my daughter and see if she made it. She had been waiting here all day to visit me. This place only allows one visit on the weekends. That means people who work can only visit once a week. Because of that, visits are cut short to accommodate everyone. Some people end up getting just ten minutes to visit. It is tragic. My daughter is a very hard worker. So, Saturday is the only day she is able to visit. She has her ears pierced and one of her earrings has a screw-back and it would not come undone. Because of this, they would not let her in. She was forced to drive home. When I called her, she was in tears. I told her that it was not her fault and that I understand. That was the second blow that I have been dealt today. Earlier at lunch, I found a hair in my food. I had not yet touched it. I went up to an officer and showed him. I asked if I could please exchange my tray. “No!”, he said. “Sir. Please. You can’t expect me to eat an unsanitary meal.”, I pleaded. “If you don’t like it, then don’t eat it. But, you’re not exchanging it!”, he belligerently exclaimed. Some men in my shoes, serving a life sentence, may very well feel that they have nothing to lose. They may have chosen to react with hate. I am a child of Christ. I chose love. I will not allow evil to triumph over me. Serving a life sentence without parole for crimes you did not commit can be a very tough pill to swallow… unless you have Jesus in your heart. When I chose Jesus, I chose love. And, I am a better human being for it. There are only two meaningful choices in life. Love or hate. Which will you choose? Remember, God is Love and Love is God. Hate is poison!
An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes.
For he flatters himself in his own eyes, When he finds out his iniquity and when he hates.
The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit; He has ceased to be wise and to do good.
He devises wickedness on his bed; He sets himself in a way that is not good; He does not abhor evil.
Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the great mountains; Your judgments are a great deep;
O Lord, You preserve man and beast.
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,
And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.
Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You, And Your righteousness to the upright in heart.
Let not the foot of pride come against me, And let not the hand of the wicked drive me away.
There the workers of iniquity have fallen; They have been cast down and are not able to rise.
May God bless and keep you! May you guard yourself from evil! May you choose love over hate! Amen!
Love in Christ,
(A man who has chosen to love, not hate)
“Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil. The greatest way to do that is through love. l believe firmly that love is a transforming power than can lift a whole community to new horizons of fair play, goodwill, and justice.”
– from The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr –