As I was driving last week, I listened to a panel discussion from the Chautauqua Institute on the radio. One of the speakers on the panel was former Ambassador Andrew Young, Jr., the civil rights leader and former mayor of Atlanta.
Former Ambassador Young shared a lesson he learned from his father. His father told him, “White supremacy is a sickness, and you don’t get angry with sick people. In fact, if you get angry, you run the risk of catching the sickness.”
He also pressed a point from his own experience I found powerful. He said, “All of the emotional, militant movements not only failed, but the kids got killed…The movements that survived was the movement that was the coolest, the most rational and the most disciplined.”
We live in an age where the frustrations of all people are bubbling to the surface. News services have learned to play on your fears and emotions, because it sells. Technology has radically expanded our ability to influence others with our own anger and fear. We are being seduced into being terrified of the world. Hatred is the most intimate friend of fear.
In the midst of all this hostility, how are we to live? Micah answers this question in today’s reading. “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Try not to let fear and emotional reactions claim your soul. Be calm. Be rational. Be disciplined in your speaking and posting. Love kindness while you advocate for justice. Remember God is still present in this world even if you can’t see God. So walk humbly and don’t catch the sickness of hatred. (Micah 6: 1-4, 6-8)