As we grapple with the amount of evil rising up in our world and wrap our minds around the role of God and our faith in these events, we cannot forget that God has already given us the solution—love. We are living in a world where love has become, as Tina Turner sang: “a second-hand emotion.” The killings that took place at Emmanuel AME Church were a result of evil and hate. Love had nothing to do with it. But there was a great deal of love present when it happened. The pastor was in the process of teaching the Bible and had ingratiated a stranger, who would end up killing him and eight of his church members. Some people are resistant to love. No matter how much they experience the love of God through the basic needs God supplies to them (or God shows through the love of other people), the hate is so prevalent on the inside of them that they cannot embrace or respond to it.
This does not mean that love is not the answer. Proverbs teaches us that: “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins,” Proverbs 10:12. When evil and hate take action in the form of church killings, rape, lies, limiting access to healthcare, discrimination, and other acts of violence, all of this stirs up strife—conflict, problems, animosity, and adversity. Rest assured, love is still the answer. Love can and will destroy evil and hate in all forms. It covers up a multitude of sin. We have witnessed love in operation through the response of the Charleston community and the Emmanuel AME church members. Love can bring down symbols of racism, and love can bring together people from all different races, even though the intent was to divide and conquer. Love in the form of support, love in the form of standing up for what is right, love in the form of hugs, love in the form of tears, love in the form of a shoulder to lean on, and love in the form of forgiveness. Love is the answer. If we were willing to share that love with one another, there would be no gang violence; there would be no need for laws needed to punish hate crimes; there would be no need for services for those who have been abused—because love would be the answer.
Love is just not embracing someone of a different color, gender, race, or class. Love is also sharing our time, money, and resources with someone. Love is the answer to world hunger. Love is the answer to poverty. Love is the answer to the housing problem in Nashville and other cities, where people are struggling to have a roof over their heads. Love is the answer to immigration reform. Love is the answer to our youth who are crying out for love. Our struggles in this world hinge on relationships. Unfortunately, evil tempts us to turn our love into hate and turn love into something that is selfish rather than selfless. Too many people are not interested in love. They are interested in having power. That greed for power, if not put in check, turns to evil and hate. Jesus has shown us that real power comes from love. Just like the good guys winning in the end, so love will win out in the end. Love is the answer.