Sunday, June 21, 2015

Charleston: Only Love Can Drive Out Hate

By now, we all know the horrible tragedy that took place in Charleston, South Carolina.

Yet again in this country, another senseless act of violence, carried out with guns, against innocent and defenseless people.

What took place in that church is utterly heartbreaking.

What is taking place now with the families, friends, and community of Charleston is utterly amazing.

At the sentencing hearing, the evil killer was placed in the same room with all of the victim's families. He had to listen to them speak, and had to look at the sadness on all of their faces.

And what did these families decide to do? Forgive and Praise God.

A daughter of a victim said, "I will never be able to hold her again, but I forgive you," "And have mercy on your soul. You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people but God forgives you, and I forgive you."

This young woman, and countless others whose lives were changed forever that day at the hands of pure evil, decided to stay true to their religion, their faith in God, stand tall, and forgive.

Today, June 21st, the first Sunday since this this horrible crime, the church held its first service. It was packed with loyal families who praised God with passion.

These people of Charleston are an absolute inspiration. In my personal opinion, one of the greatest Americans of all time is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for all he did for the civil rights movement, women's right, his love for religion, and also the anti-war moment in Vietnam. 

These people are following in his footsteps and using his powerful words to overcome this evil. They are using LOVE to drive out hate. And the way in which they are doing it is amazing. These people deserve the highest of praises from the entire nation. 

The way in which these families, this community, has responded to such a heinous act is something we are all blessed to witness. To be so strong, remain so faithful, and continue to be so true to what they believe in is something we can ALL strive to be.

We live in a country where political power is closely tied into the interest of large corporations and the power of the dollar. After the atrocious actions of what happened in Newtown, there were ZERO changes made to the gun laws in this country. If nothing happened after that evil event, it is hard to see any change ever happening. Jon Stewart said it best when he said, "I am confident we are going to do jack shit about this." The NRA has too many political ties, as they fund political parties. Whether you like Obama or not, what he said is a fact: "This type of violence does NOT happen in other advanced countries." Go look at crime in England. Nobody has guns there. Their police do not even have guns. Here in America, we are constantly having mass shootings. 

Politics aside, I am sure these families know that hope for changes to gun laws is a bit far-fetched in this country. Yet, they remain loving, strong, and together.

We can ALL learn from these families in Charleston. In the face of horrible pain, evil, and loss, they remain strong and true to their faith.

Just as MLK said - "The time is always right, to do what is right."

They are not going to let this horrible act destroy their beliefs. They are going to continue to love and forgive. Because "hate is too great a burden to bear."

One way to ensure you Grow NOW, is to make sure you learn something new everyday and you never stop growing. There is no peak or plateau. There is ALWAYS room to be a better person, ALWAYS. As human beings, we must strive to attain wisdom. There are few things more important than attaining wisdom. We must learn each day, from our experiences and surroundings.

This situation in Charleston and the actions of this community is a beautiful thing to learn from. These families are a true inspiration. Their actions are utterly amazing. They continue to love, for they know love is the answer, and love is the only way to drive out hate.

"The ultimate measure of a man, is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Do not ignore what is happening down in Charleston. Be a witness to the amazing character of these individuals who have shown resiliency and true will. Learn from these people and allow them to inspire you. For they have inspired me, and I must make sure that I never forget it.

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