My intention with this post is to bring a cooling energy to the heated debates over how the world is reacting to the death of one of the humanity’s most notorious killers and hate-mongers.
On social networking sites, some have declared their Agape level Love for this man, which has in some cases, sparked red-hot angry responses from readers. One response said that expressing Love for a killer is to desecrate the memory of the victims, and to disrespect their families.
Others have come to the defense of Love, but it has been said that “defense is the first act of war.” Thus, to defend Love puts us in a perplexing situation.
I gently suggest that we Love, not for ‘the other,’ but for the sake of Love itself, and the practice of unconditional Love. We Forgive, not for ‘the other,’ but for our own Liberation from the ill effects of holding un-forgivness in our hearts.
Growing up in The Church of Christ, I often heard adults say, “Love the sinner and hate the sin.” Love the sinner, I understood. But hate the sin? Are we not here to eradicate hate? I was taught by the same people who said, “hate the sin,” that my journey in Life is to “be more like Jesus,” yet I do not recall a single verse where the master teacher offered hate as a desired choice for us to follow. I do recall being taught from 1 Corinthians, 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Another interpretation of “Love the sinner, and hate the sin,” when it comes to contemplating villains of society and those who have committed heinous crimes, could be, “Love the human being and all of the potential that Life represents. Love the human being as they might have been the day of their birth, innocent and full of Life’s promise… Love the human being that is part of the greater human family, and mourn the loss of their moral compass. MOURN the circumstances which helped shape the mind and consciousness of the lost individual, and all who have been injured in the wake of the hell they chose to create while on earth. Because ultimately, it is sadness, not hate that people are needing to express. Anger is an expression of grief.
When a member of a family loses their grip on reality, brings a gun into the home (as an uncle of mine chose to do many years ago), and commits violence against the family, it is sad. When a member of the human family, commits violence on other members of the human family, now approaching 7 billion in size, it is sad. Just sad.
If we allow ourselves to generate heated, boiling debates over how to express our feelings in this time of global awareness, are we not allowing a legacy of hate to continue? If we dance in the streets and party like it’s a holiday when a killer is killed, are we not celebrating violence and murder itself?
So yes… as people cheered the death of a terrorist, I felt grief. Grief for the many who suffered at his hands… and grief for whatever “went wrong” in the shaping of a man who had the potential to be a leader for the good of humanity, but chose instead to be a leader of hatred and violence.
It was a somber moment for me to see the news flash on my smart phone that a murderer had been slain, like a book being quietly closed, or the ending of a sad movie. I felt a stillness wash over me, as I sat in the memory and contemplation of September 11th, 2001 and the events that have followed in the past decade. I suspect the cheering people in the crowds had simply not yet allowed themselves to feel the gravity of what they were celebrating.
Please understand. I am grateful the world is free of one dangerous terrorist, as I am also aware that, if we are to be a world truly free of terrorism, we must find it in our hearts to free ourselves of hate for anyone, including those we have come to know as terrorists. We would also be well served to forgive ourselves for the times when show up as Love’s opposite.