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Responding to hate - a reflection

'The hate of this man will not die with him if it still lives within us.' By Joe Haward



'What is wrong with our weak country? Our paramedics treating the guy who has just killed our people. He should be left to die or dragged out into the street and finished off.'

Seems like a legitimate statement, one that has been circulating since the Westminster terror attack in one form or another.

But here's the thing; the hate that filled this man's being is a hate that cares nothing for our humanity, and that hate within us, whatever its outlet, whomever it is towards, cares not for your humanity nor your reasoning behind it; hate for this man is the same hate he felt, and hate will never change our communities into peace. The hate of this man will not die with him if it still lives within us.

Martin Luther King Jr, drawing from the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, understood this only too well. In declaring that hate cannot drive out hate, Dr King saw the reality of perpetual violence that never ends, because violence will never solve things, hate will never heal things.

On Sunday I am preaching on Jesus' call to nonviolence, a call that recognises overcoming oppressors happens through creative acts of nonviolent resistance. It is a call to transform our society through compassion, love and forgiveness, to overcome hate through our unwillingness to allow hate to be the final word; love not hate never ends.

Acts of radical forgiveness, compassion and love in the face of extreme violence and hate catch us off guard, and jolt us into a previously unknown reality, a state of being that echoes out into eternity, pushing peace into the darkest caves of our bitterness and bringing the light of healing into our humanity.

Loving our enemies changes us, changes them, transforms us all.

We need to be a people of creative acts of compassion, otherwise hate will consume and destroy us. 


The Revd Joseph Haward is an eighth generation oyster fisherman, turned Revd, after training as a Baptist Minister at Spurgeon’s College. Joe and his family now live in south Devon and founded the pioneer ministry This Hope. This reflection was originally posted to his Facebook page and is used with permission.

Joe's first book The Ghost of Perfection is being published by Wipf and Stock in 2017.


Baptist Times, 23/03/2017
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