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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.

0 replies on “The Only Way”

Thanks Linda – – I reflect the light i see in others…that is what every one of these newsletters is really about Thanks for being part of that for me…means more than you know. Have an awesome week – – J

This really is a moving story, and I’m so impressed with his ability to share it. Anger is a heavy burden to bear. The importance for all of us I think is that a DECISION was made to be forgiving. Forgiveness is more than a feeling, although feelings are certainly involved. Sometimes the best we can do is ask for the ability to forgive even when we cannot feel forgiveness. Making that decision, I believe, helps us lay down the burden and leads to healing. Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is oneself.

Thanks for sharing, Maureen. You are so right: forgiveness is a decision. That is important for us all to carry with us each day – the decision is ours and once we choose it: we free ourselves and those we forgive. Thanks for all you do. J

I can hardly breathe. My heart is pounding. I am in awe of the strength of conviction and courage this young man had to choose love. Is it coincidence — yesterday I started a book, “Anger: Wisdom for cooling the flames,” by Thich Nhat Hanh. I’ll let you know what I learn.

Marie: I totally agree. A jig part of the story is JC’s willingness to share…not what he said, but THAT he stood, spoke, risked and inspired us…looking forward to your review on the book;-). J

My own personal experience with something like this was when I experienced the miscarriage of my one and only pregnancy. My husband at the time was very unsupportive through a weekend of ER visits. When I finally received the news that I had lost my baby his words to my family on the phone were “It’s gone”. When I asked of his true feelings after I came home from having my D&C he said he was relieved. My heart was broken into a million pieces already and this shattered it even more. We divorced almost a year later (his choice). The teacher that I was working with at the time told me that I didn’t have to forget but if I couldn’t forgive it would eat me alive for the rest of my life. I let the anger, hatred and hurt control me for way too long. Once I let it go and forgave him I woke up to a whole new world. Forgiveness wasn’t easy but when my days weren’t consumed with hating him, his words and his willingness to give up on our marriage I returned to the person that I knew everyone wanted to be around.

Thank you for sharing this story. Such great inspiration for a world full of hate and negativity.

Ruth, you have lived a heartbreaking story…you lost your baby, your marriage, your joy….and through love and forgiveness gained back your life. Thank you for blessing us with your testimony… You are a gift. God bless – John

Thank you for sharing the story. It is a good reminder of how much we can and do impact other people’s lives, and I would like to do that from love, not fear. Thank you.

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Live Inspired Together is a community of friends changing the world together, starting with their own. In a world that often focuses on negativity, John O’Leary - Live Inspired shares the other side of the story through his member-supported channels (essays, Live Inspired Podcast, video, webcasts, social platforms) to connect our community and share inspiration and actions to live it. Support now.