Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it. – Martin Luther King
What does that mean?
This is a great quote from a great man. It has three parts, each dealing with the difference between love and hatred and how it impacts our lives.
In the first, he contrasts how love gives us freedom while hatred locks us into a very limited set of responses, feelings, and beliefs.
In the second, he contrasts how love brings us into harmony both with each other and the world around us, while hatred will put us at odds with others and leave us in confusion as to why things are difficult to accomplish.
In the third, he contrasts how love brings light and joy into our lives while hatred brings us nothing but darkness and misery.
The choice is between Hatred and Love, and the choice is ours to make.
Why is chosing love over hate important?
Can you imagine a world where hatred is the norm? Group against group and even person against person? It doesn’t take much imagination, as it is playing out in the news all over the world today. Is that something you wish to see become the norm throughout the world? I know that I do not.
But if each of us chose hate over love, we slowly move down the spiral into the cesspool of hatred. In that direction, only madness prospers. I reject that path and strive to move in the direction of love. No one is perfect, and we will make poor choices from time to time. But we can do our part.
Now consider the way the world might work if the choices we made were driven by love far more often than by hate. Perhaps you live in a relatively peaceful part of the world, blessed by kindness and love. Yes, there are still mean people, but isn’t your life far better than the lives of those living in hotbeds of hatred?
The choice is ours. Yes, we are only one pebble in a pond. But if we can influence, by our words or our deeds, we can help start an avalanche of love into our local pond. As more and more people chose the path of love over the path of hate, more rocks enter the pond, and cause larger ripples. And that is a good thing.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Put together, these form a pretty powerful argument for choosing love over hate. But the choice isn’t always that clear. Sometimes the choice is between two feelings or actions, neither clearly love or hate. The question then becomes “Which should I choose in such an ambitious situation?”
There is no quick or easy answer. It requires you to examine yourself and your own motives. Why would you pick one over the other? With a reason in mind, is it more closely aligned with love, freedom, harmony and light, or with hatred, paralysis, confusion, and darkness?
With that answer in mind, the question of which to choose becomes at least a little easier, doesn’t it? The examination of self and of your motives gives you a better feeling for where your heart is, and how your decision could move you closer to love or to hatred.
And that is the real question. What is your desired destination? Is your next port of call love, or are you sailing on to the harbor of hatred? That is a question only you can answer, and only after some serious thought. And that will include the people with whom you associate, and where you as a group are headed.
As individuals, we have little influence over the events on other continents. However, we can start by making our lives, and the lives of our small group of friends more loving. We can then try to spread it to those others which our lives touch. And we can become the rock thrown in a pond, spreading ripples far and wide.
No one rock thrown in a pond will cause a major change. But when a rock-slide hits the edge of the pond and slides in, a great wave can be created, and that can make a major change all around the pond in a very short period of time. We are but one rock, and not a rock slide.
However, if we can get our family, our friends, and others in our influence to chose the path of love over hate, we can make a larger splash as we enter the pond. When an entire nation choses love over hate, even the mighty British Empire was forced to admit defeat. That is the legacy of Gandhi.
We all have opinions about what is the right and proper thing to do in any given situation. It is based on our beliefs and our experience. To chose love over hate, we must examine our motives, and our beliefs. Why do we believe this over that? And how does that belief influence our decisions?
If we don’t ask the questions, if we don’t examine ourselves, we will continue to make decisions which may not lead us in the direction we desire. Only by asking the tough questions, and seeing where they lead us, can we change what we believe, unlearn what we took as truth, and make love our default choice.
Neither Utopia nor Hell will occur with a single decision. Each pebble in the avalanche has a vote. Once enough pebbles have cast their vote, things begin to move. If you withhold your vote until the avalanche has begun, it is too late. Chosing love over hate is to be done proactively. Make your vote known.
From: Twitter, @DrMLKJrWisdom
confirmed at : Strength to Love – last paragraph of section III of Antidotes for fear, page 122
Photo by kris krüg