Love > Hate
by Riyanka Subrahmanyam
One of my most favourite pieces of clothing I own is this green t-shirt that says ‘Anything hate can do, love can do better’. It is two sizes too small, but I still give it prime hanger space in my closet. As I sift through what I want to put on for the day, the truth of the words encourages me. They wrap around my heart like a snug sweater, a push to the best choice I can make for the day: Love.
How much of the world’s daily decisions centre around hate? A bomb here, a shooting there, a war started, a child in detention, the homeless ignored, the elderly forgotten, a debt owed and a shoulder turned?
I guarantee that if the question that sparked the decision was answered in love, rather than hate, the outcome would not only be drastically different, but radically better.
Love: a verb, a feeling, a revolution.
Choosing love can often be hard, especially when who you must love is hard.
EVERYONE. You are called to love everyone. Did you hear me? I said EVERY.SINGLE.ONE.
Your mother, your brother, the girl in the sari on the bus, the homeless guy you pass in the city every Friday, the old guy who religiously sits behind you at church and sings a little too loudly, and yes, even the one who started the war. THE NEIGHBOUR. You are called to love your neighbour.
You see, this is the thing about people. We all started the same. Little babies who had nothing but good intentions and smelly diapers. We are part of the same earth, entrenched in the soil that is daily life. If we are nourished with love and watered with freedom and acceptance, and pruned regularly of our sins, then something beautiful happens. If we aren’t, then we often become the people that society fears. But almost every time, the ones we fear most, the ones that are the easiest to hate not love are the ones who have experienced more fear and hate than we can imagine.
If you get this, I mean truly understand that love will always win because it simply is better than hate, then YOU can start a revolution. Not a regular, violent, war like one - but the kind that Jesus started, a revolution of love.
There are at least two choices to every situation- an evolutionary change or a revolutionary change.
An evolutionary change is small incremental change.
A revolutionary change is a radical, heightened, fast paced kind of change.
But you should know this - these times that we are living in are too important, too precious for evolutionary change. Take a moment and smell the urgency in the air. The little boy caught in cross fire in Syria, the gay teen contemplating suicide, the indigenous grandmother taking on the responsibility of another grandchild, they are too precious. We cannot count ONLY on slow, step by step change. Yes, that can happen in the background and it should.
But the light? YOUR LIGHT? It must shine on the revolutionary change. The radical acceptance of all people, the loving your neighbour - your Muslim, gay, Indigenous, < Insert your prejudice here> neighbour. Put down your judgement and wear your love shirt. If there is not a revolution already started in your neighbourhood, start one.
This might sound farfetched, easier written and read than done. And you are right. It is easier to read a couple of lines, feel feelings of empowerment and then do nothing about it.
Jumping on the back of someone else’s hard work takes minimal effort. Starting on your own takes sacrifice.
The word ‘love’ is first used in the bible in the book of Genesis, chapter 22. God calls on Abraham and says this “Take your son, your only son - yes, Isaac, whom you love so much - and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him…”
This Abraham and Isaac story has multiple lessons in it, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the first time God uses the word ‘love’, it is followed by sacrifice.
Often loving the way God wants us to love involves us firstly trusting Him, and then sacrificing the thing that is most important to us. And as the story of Abraham goes, God always comes through and uses your sacrifice for a greater purpose.
Money, pride, status - whatever that is for you, I urge you to sacrifice it, lay it down. Lay it down and love instead.
Love alone is not a revolution,
love extended &
love chosen over hate
THAT is a revolution.
Let there be love on this earth, and let it begin with me.
Let there be love on this earth, and let it begin with you.
Let there be love on this earth.