It will be weeks until we stop thinking about the recent devastation in Paris.
I find myself compelled to write about it, even though this is a huge departure from what I normally post on this website.
Here is the deal: in our response to evil, we can never, ever allow ourselves to give way to hate. Jesus tells us to “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you”. The magic is that, when we pray for people, they cease to be enemies. If you are not a follower of Jesus, I know of no call on you, but for those of us who love him, this is central to our lives.
The danger is that, if I start thinking of ISIS as my enemy, then it is only a few steps until I start thinking of Muslims, or people from the Middle East, as enemies. Who is next? Syrian refugee families? The people who worship at the mosque down the street? My friends Masab and Waleed? Any woman wears a veil? Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor? People with German last names during WWI?
You will tell me that I have it easy, because here I sit, secure in the knowledge that my loved ones are safe at work and school. Yes, I will say, but so do you.
I understand that it is the job of governments to think about the world in this way, and it is the necessary labor of families of victims to work through and live with the stages of grief – including anger and blame. But the rest of us? We are without excuse.
So, that quote you were about to share on Facebook? That email you were about to send? That Twitter comment you were going to post? Please don’t. Instead, stand with our brothers and sisters of France. All of them – not just the ones who fit a certain profile. And please, continue to fight evil and hatred with its only antidote: love.