Monday, May 09, 2011

Only Love Can Do That (MLK)

Blogger's Note:  written for my choir rehearsal Wednesday, May 4.

U. S. forces have found Osama bin Laden, and he was killed in the raid. The leader of al-Quaida – an organization founded on an ideology of hatred and murder of non-Muslims (aka “infidels”) that saw its ultimate expression in the heinous acts of September 11, 2001 and countless other suicide bombings – is gone. What now?

I am thankful that Osama bin Laden will no longer be leading his followers to carry out such a hate-filled agenda. I admire the bravery and skill of those in our armed forces who carried out a dangerous and distasteful raid (if killing ever stops being distasteful, God help us all). Though I believe that Muslims are misled about truth and salvation, I am also grateful that those in charge had the wisdom to demonstrate respect for Islamic law in dealing with bin Laden’s remains. Though many would prefer for him to have been treated as al-Quaida treated those whom they captured and executed, to do so would deny the character I desire to be shown by those who represent my nation in military service. It was a stroke of genius to bury his remains at sea, thereby preventing a location which could be designated a shrine and a rallying point for his followers.

I honestly believe that the removal of bin Laden from leadership ultimately makes certain parts of our world a much safer place for peaceful people. Whether it means that immediately or not is yet to be seen. I know that my friend and pastor Blake Harwell is wondering what this means for where he will be conducting his sabbatical study this summer. Some of the deepest wisdom I have read in the past couple of days comes from a voice that some sought to silence in hatred: that of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I am grateful that his influence also lives on beyond his death and I am indebted to bloggers that included this quote on their blogs this week.
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. You may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. You may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate, nor establish love. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.  ~ Martin Luther King, Jr., “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” (1967)

That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


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