Love Trumps Hate
The other day I came across a street painting of a massive heart. Under the heart, the artist had written: “the world needs love.” In light of recent events around the world in the last few months, the painting really resonates with me.
When our news feeds and television screens are regularly riddled with reports of horrific acts of violence and hate, we can feel so angry and appalled. When racist bigots and demagogues rise by instilling fear and poisoning minds with hate, we are dismayed and disheartened. And when it seems like it’s not stopping, that the social media uproars have become meaningless and the response speeches of leaders seem useless, we can become very cynical.
Hatred. Fear. Cynicism. These are all undemanding responses to the problems of the world. And they lead us nowhere but into an endless cycle of repression, revenge and retaliation.
This message, that the world needs love, is a simple reminder that there is an antidote to this plague of hatred — an antidote that each of us possesses. Everyone is capable of loving, if they can find the courage to do so. Maya Angelou once said that “love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
Love will push. Love will endure. Love will conquer.
Despite the injustice we may see, the fear-mongering we may hear and the pain we may feel, we must find it within ourselves to love and to drown out the cynics. When we can all find the strength to continue to love during times of hate, then perhaps we can also begin to look at today not with cynicism but with hope for something better tomorrow.
Remember all those books and movies about good defeating evil, about love conquering hatred? Harry Potter’s greatest power was his ability to love, an ability his enemies did not possess. He literally defeated evil with love. Atticus Finch continued to fight for what was right, even when his entire town gave in to hate and turned against him. He taught us to be brave enough to stand up for love despite the growing prejudice in the majority. These stories and characters may not be real but that doesn’t mean the love and courage in them is fictional. They represent the best of who we are.
Love is inextricably linked with our humanity.
There will always be evil in this world but there will also be so much more good. As difficult as it may be to see at times, this good is something that’s worth fighting for. It all starts with treating our brothers and sisters with the same presumption of good faith that we expect to be treated with. It starts with rising above the fear that divides us and striving towards the love that will unite us. And it starts with recognizing this basic but universal truth: love trumps hate.
The world needs and will always need more love. Thank you, to the stranger who painted this reminder.