Love is the Best Response – 11/6

by Peter Whitelock

Categories: Past Events

In a recent Times Op-Ed piece entitled “How to Engage a Fanatic,” David Brooks examines the very timely question of how we can constructively interact with people whose ideals and convictions are often expressed in an uncivil manner. Quoting Stephen Carter, he equally comes to the conclusion that “the only way to confront fanaticism is with love.”

How strange that sounds in a world like ours where there is so much discord, animosity and division. We seem to have embraced incivility as a norm, but the good news is that we never have to respond in kind when provoked. For Christians, the commandment of Jesus to “love one another” applies both to agreeable and disagreeable people we encounter in life.

The way of love leads us to listen carefully, respond thoughtfully, engage compassionately, share respectfully, and always seek to build up rather than tear others down. It is true that sometimes constructive engagement is simply not possible, particularly around heated issues, but even in choosing not to engage we can be graceful and hopeful.

I think the heart of the matter is that our behavior is not dictated by how others treat us, but rather by how God engages us in mercy, kindness, compassion and love. Modeling that to others, even when it’s difficult, is how we bear God’s image in this broken and hurting world.

Grace and peace,

Peter