Editorial: Answering darkness with light

Apr. 15, 2014 @ 10:59 PM

Try we might, eliminating hatred from our world has not yet been accomplished. We’d like to think some day it will happen.

For now, it has a place deep and dark within many of us. On occasion, each of us feel its sting, see its wickedness or hear its piercing call.

Sunday’s triple slaying in Overland Park, Kan., has been called a hate crime by investigators. The suspect is a native North Carolinian from Johnston County. He’s also a Vietnam War veteran, 73 years old and now living in Missouri.

And he needs love — especially right now.

Anything else would be too easy. Whether it is during this week of passion by Christians or at any other time of the year, nothing else will suffice.

One of the wisest men to walk this Earth was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He surely felt the worst humanity has to offer, and yet he led by example.

King believed hate to be darkness. Thus, darkness wouldn’t drive out darkness, but light could. And that light, he said, was love.

He deemed hate too much of a burden to bear. Too often, we forget how much better we are, and how much easier it is, to simply love.

In his sermons on Jesus’ teaching to “love your enemies,” King said love has a redemptive power, one capable of transformation. He said love builds and creates, whereas hate tears down and destroys.

We have a right to our feelings. If indeed Sunday’s tragedy was a hate crime carried out by a single individual, there is no question we will be filled with an array of emotions. Evidence, news and information are already shaping our opinions.

But it is our reaction that can set us apart from the haters. Emotions shouldn’t define us.

Difficult as it may be, we have to remember why people choose to hate and what it truly means. Hatred is well beyond dislike, though often in our bungling of the English language, we lump them together. They are not.

Hatred, we believe, is rooted in fear. It runs deep, and it is not easily changed. To alter its course is to seek a powerful tool.

Love is the best answer.