I didn’t blog last week. In light of the recent terrorist attacks, I felt it was right to be silent, out of respect of the days of mourning set aside for the victims of the violence – in France, and in Lebanon too.
I felt a particularly strong sense of despair at these attacks. For a number of reasons – the more vulnerable place I’m at in my journey, having a good friend who lives in Paris. Like many of us, I needed time to process it all.
As I reflected, two words keep coming up for me in light of those attacks.
And right now, fear seems to be winning.
But I choose to say something different today. I say that love wins. And ultimately, love always wins.
I’ve seen fear all over social media. Fear is reigning supreme in the world right now. Christians, who are meant to be the model of inclusivity, want to exclude refugees – who aren’t terrorists, but are actually victims of ISIS themselves – because they’re afraid they are terrorists. When all the stats show this is hugely unlikely. Good people want this.
They say ‘we need to protect ourselves first’. And it sounds sensible.
But it’s precisely the risk of loving Jesus calls us to take.
Someone wise once said, fear can eventually lead to anger, hate and suffering. And that’s where this goes if it continues.
Governments and big corporations will be happy to use fear to exercise yet more control and influence over us. They already do, in much more subtle, passive-aggressive ways. They tell us what we need and don’t need. They use the myth of scarcity to sell things to us. And the tragedy is, many people will submit to this willingly.
We can so easily, subtly, let fear win.
A Different Story
However, I want to believe a different story.
I choose to stubbornly believe in love. (you can tweet this)
I simply won’t let fear dictate to me anymore. I’d say I’m angry at fear, but that’s not the correct word. I’m stubbornly refusing to give in to fear. I’m saying no to the darkness which can seem so overwhelming at a time like this.
I’m not one of those ‘say it whilst/because it’s fashionable’ people either. I’ve always believed this. I’m also not naive about the realities of the world we live in, and the awful situations many people find themselves in. It’s not a perfect world at all. It can be messy. Painful. Dark.
But I choose to be a person of love anyway. A person who tries not to judge or condemn, but has grace. Who stands in solidarity with those who suffer, and offers them love and welcome. A person who doesn’t exclude people out of fear, but remembers and welcomes the outsider, the outcast, the forgotten – just as Jesus did, even at risk to Himself.
And I know I’ll screw up and get it wrong and make mistakes, I’m not perfect and never will be. Fear might win occasionally. But ultimately, I’ll keep choosing love over fear.
Of course, some, small amount of fear can be useful – to protect ourselves from danger crossing the road, or if we need to walk the other way if someone suspicious is walking around. In small doses, fear can be helpful.
But fear doesn’t get to be our god.
The hope we see might sometimes only be a speck, a flicker. But it’s something. And it’s there if we look for it.
I choose to believe love wins. When big disasters come what people need isn’t fear, but love.
Which means taking action. Love is a verb, not a sentiment.
It doesn’t take much to be a person of love. I messaged my friend in Paris love, prayers and support last week – and they told me that meant the world to them. It cost me almost nothing. I’ve given money to charities supporting refugees and working against ISIS, because I’m fortunate to be able to afford it. Whatever you can do, do that. Even if it’s something small – all acts of love make a difference.
Fear doesn’t get to win. It might win battles, in our lives, and in the world. But it never has to have the final say. I won’t submit to it or compromise with it.
I will choose every day to be, in my own completely imperfect way, a person of love, grace, forgiveness and mercy.
Every day, to choose to believe that love wins.
Are you with me?
Question For Reflection
How have you let fear dictate your life & how can you be a person of love?
Let me know in the comments below.
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(Pictures: Online Source)
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