What Causes More Blindness Than Looking Directly at a Solar Eclipse?
The Lord (Week 10 of 23)
To see another human being as he really is means to lay ourselves open to his influence. Thus when fear or dislike moves us to avoid him, this reaction is already evident in our gaze; the eye characterizes him, stifling the good, heightening the bad. We discern his intentions, make swift comparisons, and leap to conclusions. All this proceeds involuntarily, if not unconsciously (in which case our powers of distortion, uncurbed by reason, so their worst). Seeing is a protective service to the will to live. The deeper our fear or distaste of a person, the more tightly we close our eyes to him, until finally, we are incapable of perception, or the profound German word for it, Wahrnehmen: reception of truth. Then we have become blind to that particular person. This mysterious process lies behind every enmity. Discussion, preaching, explanations are utterly useless. The eye simply ceases to register what is plain to be seen. Before there can be any change, a fundamental shift must take place in the general attitude. The mind must turn to justice, the heart expand; then only can the eye really begin to discern. Little by little the sheen of the object on which it rests strengthens its visual power, and slowly it recovers the health of truth. — The Lord (Part III: Chapter 1, Paragraph 13)
This is not a post about politics. Although, as you can see from the above paragraph, the content fits right in with the turbulent weeks we’ve seen in the world of race relations, the months of mudslinging and hatred spewed over the current president of the United States, or the vicious diatribe surrounding immigration, abortion, transgenderism, and more.
Hate is a blinding emotion. And it never leads to justice. Or truth. For in the ensuing pursuit of said goods, the force, which presses continuously onward, gaining passion, momentum, speed, power and brutality, is driven by things like revenge, self-righteousness, anger – none of which can result in an equitable resolution of the issue at hand. They seek instead to destroy the individuals who push back from the other side.
The result is war.
Whether that war is one of emotions, ideas, words, fists, weapons or power, passions fueled by hatred can bring nothing but destruction.
Whether we’re talking about a country at odds about monumental – yes, monumental – issues, or a married couple that has slipped into the abyss of resentment and negativity, hatred is deadly.
The antidote? The answer can be found in Sacred Scripture.
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. — Proverbs 10:18
The only hatred that is permissible is the hatred of evil:
Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked. — Psalm 119:163.
Love is always the preferred perspective. Love is always the preferred source of action. For Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Cor. 13:7).
In this time where hearts are hardening, where lines are being drawn, we must remember that only Love changes hearts. No matter the issue, our goal is never subjugation, but rather, conversion. A sincere conversion to the good. To the truth. To Love. To Christ.
Whether in our homes or in our streets, love will never be achieved through hatred. Justice will never be achieved through fear or dislike. And for those of you who believe that present day problems have moved beyond the scope of biblical niceties and polite decorum, Martin Luther King, Jr. – one of the most quoted men in the twentieth century – had some words to say that harken back to Biblical wisdom. We should keep them in mind, whether we approach our spouse, our neighbor, our community or the world at large:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
Hate multiplies hate,
violence multiplies violence,
and toughness multiplies toughness
in a descending spiral of destruction….
The chain reaction of evil —
hate begetting hate,
wars producing more wars —
must be broken,
or we shall be plunged
into the dark abyss of annihilation.
— Strength To Love, 1963
Part 4: Ch. II-V
1.Please offer any prayerful comments regarding the state of relations in the world – whether within our own families, communities or the world at large.
2. Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!
For More Information on the Book Club: http://spiritualdirection.com/csd-book-club