Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
What’s the best way to handle problems relationally, troubles professionally and difficulties emotionally?
Last week I got the answer and today I’m thrilled to share it with you.
I got the answer while speaking at a leadership conference for high school students. These young leaders had gathered for a week to volunteer and serve others. My speech was intended to remind them that one person can change the world – and that each of them have the power to be that one person.
I challenged them to live for a cause bigger than themselves; encouraged the students to volunteer, lead and love in such a way that others would be profoundly changed.
At the end of my presentation I asked if any of the students had questions. One young man stood, thanked me and said he didn’t have a question, just a comment.
JC Castaneda shared that two years ago a drunk driver killed his brother. His brother had been just one year older than him and his best friend. JC’s world was turned upside down. The only way he could make sense of the tragedy was to avenge the death of his brother by finding the person who killed him and bring him to justice. Even if he had to personally kill him.
JC shared all of this to a packed, silent and stunned auditorium. Through tears, he continued.
“John, this all changed today.You encouraged us to live in such a way that we spread light and hope. You shared that we can choose to be motivated by either fear or love.This hit me like lightning; my need to change from hate to love and fear to faith. I don’t want to hate anymore. Forgiving him was the hardest thing for me to do, but now I know my true life’s mission is to avenge my brother’s death by finding his killer and forgiving him.”
JC sat down. The entire room leapt up.
My friends, how do you rectify a broken relationship? How do you fix a challenge at the office? How do you move through past hurts?
One option is to choose the path of anger, fear and vengeance. JC reminded us, though, of another path. This one is fueled by faith, forgiveness and love. It transforms our lives first and then ignites those we meet with the spark of possibility.
Hate cannot do that. Only love can do that.
When was a time in your life that you chose love over hate or faith over fear? Please share in the comments.