Reading the news can offer a micro experience of our world, the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. Even in our own lives, we can know extremes. We know what it is to gravitate between love and hate, anger and peace, hope and disappointment, satisfaction and frustration, pain and praise. We attend funerals one day, and celebrate newborn babies the next. We rejoice that our home was not destroyed by violent storms while we hear of others who lost everything. We are broken hearted over the thousands who die in an earthquake whilst we are ecstatic about one baby rescued in the rubble.
How do we navigate this road of so many different realities? How do I reconcile an environment of faith and hope, only to walk amongst those whose dreams are shattered by their current circumstances?
Simply put, we must learn to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. Our world needs people who don’t ignore pain and suffering, but allow it to do its work in raising emotions of right-anger, and even hate for the conditions some people face relentlessly each day. We cannot know true peace without touching anger.
Unless we can hate suffering, then our love for people will not be deep enough to respond sacrificially. My hatred for poverty, scarcity and starvation in other people’s lives will have a corresponding response of love if I allow it time to touch my soul. Let’s not move too quickly from what we call negative emotions to the detriment of a corresponding positive response of compassion, or prayer, or the fight for justice. Instead, anger for wrongful laws may run deep enough to bring about a corresponding response of reform. Isn’t that how the movement to abolish slavery began? What about the death penalty?
Imagine if our hatred of disease and love for others prompted the urgency to find cures. Isn’t that how malaria is slowly being eradicated? Only those who look long enough at tragedy will pause long enough to ensure help is given, even after the hype and media attention has faded away.
The challenge is this: take every opportunity to help others. Let your passion be driven not only by what you love but also by what you hate.