Tag Archives: Hope

Dear Love….From Hatred

John Pavlovitz is an “18-year ministry veteran trying to figure out how to love people well and to live-out the red letters of Jesus.” He proudly serves the North Raleigh Community Church as pastor of people in the Raleigh area and throughout the world.

John writes a blog called John Pavlovitz – Stuff That Needs To Be Said (http://johnpavlovitz.com). Recently John wrote one of his “musings” called “Dear Hatred, From Love”; posted JULY 19, 2016.

This is a copy of John’s post:

Dear Hatred, From Love

JULY 19, 2016 / JOHN PAVLOVITZ

Dear Hatred

Dear Hatred,

I trust this letter finds you well.

Actually, from the looks of things out there business is booming for you lately. I’ve got to hand it to you, you’ve managed to keep yourself in the news pretty steadily and these days that’s no small feat. Your ability to reinvent yourself is a credit to your persistence and to you knowing your audience. I’ll confess, your brand is a whole lot stronger than I’d realized. Somehow you’ve been able to leverage all that fear out there into a pretty impressive little cottage industry. I see you’ve even secured a Presidential candidate.

To be honest, I’ve been in a pretty deep funk with all that’s happening, myself. For a while I’ve been struggling to find any real momentum; one step forward, eighteen steps back. I’d started to think maybe I was obsolete, like I’d finally become passé; destined to be a dusty relic of the past and relegated to faded t-shirts and power ballads. I was seriously considering calling it a day.

But this morning I realized something: I’m. Freaking. Love. Dammit.

I am the glorious, beautiful response to all the havoc you wreak out there.

I am the relentless dawn that chases away your heavy darkness.

I resurrect all the hope that you seek to destroy.

I am the defiant middle finger raised in the face of death, evil, and your pervasive lie that Humanity is beyond saving.

I am the redemptive song that people keep finding a way to sing together no matter how difficult the days become.

Sure, maybe I’ve had a rough stretch lately, but I’ve been through this all a million times before and I’ve always been able to answer you.

And trust me, I will answer now too.

Let’s face it, deep down we both know how this is going to play out, don’t we? You’ll grab the headlines and make a dramatic statement and chaos will briefly come, and you’ll feel and seem like you’re winning. You’ll get a bit of traction and you’ll celebrate for a moment. But it won’t be long until I rise up and slowly drive back beneath the ground all the terrible Hell that you managed to raise.

Like yeast in the dough I will quietly and silently do the healing work I do; person by person, heart by heart, breath by breath. And then I will be the one dancing.

You’ve probably noticed that I don’t resort to all the bombast and theatrics you’re known for. That may move the needle and make the news, but it doesn’t last and anyway it’s never really been my style. I prefer to just keep going—and waiting. Because the truth is, goodness is Humanity’s default setting, and when people stop to breathe, when they step away from the screaming fray, when they draw nearer to one another they recognize that goodness in the other’s eyes—and then you’re screwed.

People will always return to compassion and mercy because those are the most powerful forces on the planet. And when they do, they find me there waiting. They embrace me and I them.

Yes, you may occasionally corrupt the system, but I am the system. I am the truth that people know without knowing they know it. I am the deepest sacred place the human heart will always seek at its level. When hurting, grieving, weary souls search for rest, I am where and when they finally find themselves home.

So you can have your eye for any eye, and I will keep making peace.

You can demand revenge and I will keep forgiving.

You can spew venom and I’ll turn my cheek.

You can posture and incite with a closed fist, and I will stretch out my open hand.

You can gloat and brag and feel quite pleased with yourself for the momentary terror you’ve manufactured—and I will press firmly into that which endures and defeats it.

Yes, you are powerful and resilient, friend, but you’ll never overcome me and you won’t outlast me.

No matter what unspeakable damage you do, I will bring even greater healing.

And no matter how much you say I will always have the last, loudest word—trust me on this.

Look around you. Look beneath the headlines and the noise.

Look deeply into the eyes of those who get me and see how much they’re willing to do.

My people will not be denied.

You can’t win this one, friend, no matter what you or the papers say.

This place is mine.

Sincerely,

Love.


This is my post in riposte to his:

Dear Love….From Hatred

JULY 25, 2016 / GARRETT SOULEN

Image result for hate love

 

Dear Love……

It’s been a long time since we have met. How are you? I was busy so I couldn’t write you. Now instead of being monotonous I will straight away write you what I feel.

Ok, ok I guess you are annoyed with me. I know the situation right now. This day is what you call in Hindi a “kali yug” (a day of strife, contention). People hate me, but at the same time my name is stable because of this feeling of hate. Yet not all this hate is aimed at me. Some like terrorists, kidnappers or those whose hearts are filled with me and  wanting to take revenge on those who hate me. Indeed, they are the only ones who are filled with me. They want that people should develop a sense of hostility, suspicion and contempt. Isn’t that delightful?  Because of what’s in their hearts, now the people are filled with rage, hostility, hatred and revenge. Me! Filled with me! But don’t be sad, there are also those people in this world who still have endless love and compassion. I know that all the great leaders throughout history have taught mankind that this love is a wonderful thing. You are a powerful weapon which can sweep away all the envy, jealousy and scorn. I am happy for you.

Now, because of the terrorist attacks and killing of police officers that are filling many hearts with despair, feelings of hopelessness, desperation and fear, I am seeing the headlines and feeling the drama and chaos playing out in the streets. But you know what, something really perplexes me. We both can’t exist together. Where there is love, there’s no place for hatred and where there is hatred, there’s no place for love. But we both are important. Ok friend, I know I am creating a situation which is a paradox for you. But just think about it. If God has made sorrow, He has also made happiness; if He has made night, He has also made day; if He has made problems, He has also made solutions; similarly, if He has made you, He has also made me.

Love has been preached from the heights of Mt. Zion to the valley below.  I know I am not good but I am not all that bad either. Yes, only you can heal the world from this sickness. But if there is hatred in the hearts of mankind, there is no love. God does what is  good for His people. If He disciplines mankind because of something he has done wrong,  it is to teach him the message of faith, hope and love and to rely on Him.

So please look at the other side of the coin.

Yours affectionately,

Hatred

Free Will and Wisdom

Police Shootings, ISIS Terrorism, Addictions, And Domestic Violence: Psychologists Explain Why It All Happens

Police shootings, ISIS terrorism, addictions, and domestic violence are increasing in our society. Many have described these incidents as senseless, but is it really?

Theories

 Police shootings, ISIS terrorism, addictions, and domestic violence are increasing in our society. Many have described these incidents as senseless, but is it really? Psychologists Sean Seepersad, Ph.D., Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., and Amanda Taub, who holds the unusual title of Senior Sadness Correspondent, and human rights expert, approach various aspects of society in a quest to make sense of the senseless.

 Police shootings, ISIS terrorism, addictions, and domestic violence are all symptoms and not the disease, according to these experts. Their separate conclusions weave a cohesive picture of a society breaking down because the building blocks of that society, namely people and relationships, are eroding.

 Fear, isolation, and a need for control seem to be the unholy trinity of all modern ills, based on the work of these experts.

 Reality

 Free will. According to Oxford Dictionaries, free will is defined as “The power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion.”

According to Theopedia: Probably the most common definition of free will is the “ability to make choices without any prior prejudice, inclination, or disposition, and specifically that these “free will” choices are not ultimately predestined by God.

 So the question we as Christians need to ask ourselves is: “Do human beings truly have a free will?”

 Were the incidents described above due to “a society breaking down because the building blocks of that society, namely people and relationships, are eroding.” Or were they because we as a human race exercised our free will to decide without wise counsel. We reacted instead of being proactive and making wise decisions as to how to handle the outcomes.

 So, the answer to the above question as to whether or not human beings truly have a free will is YES! If “free will” means that God gives humans the opportunity to make choices that genuinely affect their destiny, then yes, human beings do have a free will.

 The world’s current sinful state is directly linked to choices made by Adam and Eve. Both Adam and Eve had a choice to make: to take a bite out of the apple or not take a bite. We already know the answer to their dilemma, but even though we say that man is born to sin (Romans 5:18-19), free will does not mean that mankind can do anything he pleases.

Our choices are limited to what is in keeping with our nature. For example, a man may choose to walk across a bridge or not to walk across it; what he may not choose is to fly over the bridge—his nature prevents him from flying. In a similar way, a man cannot choose to make himself righteous—his (sin) nature prevents him from canceling his guilt (Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”). So, free will is limited by nature.

This limitation does not alleviate our accountability. The Bible is clear that we not only have the ability to choose, we also have the responsibility to choose wisely (Proverbs 12:26, Psalms 1:1-6). In the Old Testament, God chose a nation (Israel), but individuals within that nation still bore an obligation to choose obedience to God. And individuals outside of Israel were able to choose to believe and follow God as well (e.g., Ruth and Rahab).

 In the New Testament, sinners are commanded over and over to “repent” and “believe” (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; Acts 3:19; 1 John 3:23). Every call to repent is a call to choose. The command to believe assumes that the hearer can choose to obey the command.

 Jesus identified the problem of some unbelievers when He told them, “You refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:40). Clearly, they could have come if they wanted to; their problem was they chose not to. “A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7), and those who are outside of salvation are “without excuse” (Romans 1:20-21).

But how can man, limited by a sin nature, ever choose what is good? It is only through the grace and power of God that free will truly become “free” in the sense of being able to choose salvation (John 15:16). It is the Holy Spirit who works in and through a person’s will to regenerate that person (John 1:12-13) and give him/her a new nature “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). Salvation is God’s work. At the same time, our motives, desires, and actions are voluntary, and we are rightly held responsible for them. But is all the pain and suffering in the world from the gift of free will worth it? Is free will the cause of evil? Some people think so and want to take away our freedoms. But, free will is not the issue. It never has been the issue. Jesus had free will and went about doing good (Acts 10:38). Jesus chose wisely, always thinking, saying, and doing the will of the Father (John 6:38).

 As stated above, the Bible is clear that we not only have the ability to choose, we also have the responsibility to choose wisely. Why would God allow men to have free will when their hearts and minds do evil unceasingly (Genesis 6:5)? Is free will really that important to God? Yes, it is. The entire Gospel is all about free will and wisdom, letting men discover the truth and then choose wisely or unwisely. As an unknown author wrote, “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it’s yours. If it does not come back, it was never meant to be.” “The Prodigal Son” is a parable that nicely personifies this quote (Luke 15:11-24).

From the beginning, God knew all the risks and vowed to never let go of His eternal purpose for men, which is to let them choose, whether wisely or unwisely. God knew the risks and declared “free will” would be every person’s right no matter what. (Deuteronomy 30:19).

God set all men free with the hope they would choose to return (1 Timothy 2:3-4). God knew the risks but drank the bitter cup of rejection knowing many would never return. He allowed men to have free will. He allowed them to go. But in doing so, He also gave them the Gospel, a path back to the Father should they chose to return, like the Prodigal Son (John 14:6).

 Did God make the right decision by giving men the gift of free will? Yes, absolutely! Again, “Salvation is God’s work. At the same time, our motives, desires, and actions are voluntary, and we are rightly held responsible for them.”

If you were to ask your children if we (as parents) made the right decision to bring them into a fallen world they would answer, “Yes, absolutely!” They would answer in the affirmative not because life has been easy or fun or grand. It hasn’t always been, not for any of them. They would answer “yes” because they know free will is a gift and wisdom a means to manage the troubles and struggles on the narrow pathway of life (Ephesians 5:15-16).