The opposites of life cause us to feel emotion all the stronger. Take love and hate. Love for humankind causes us to hate suffering. Love for life causes us to hate disease.
For me, these last few weeks have been marked by the contrasts of life.
One week I was at a Christian conference with Church leaders from around Australia, surrounded by old friends, it was an environment filled with vision and hope for a better future.
The next week (MND International Awareness Week) I was with new friends courageously battling a disease that can so easily rob people of vision and any expectation for a better future.
It was like I was living a micro experience of our world. In fact, most of us live life a little like that, in a place of conflict between love and hate, anger and peace, hope and disappointment, satisfaction and frustration, pain and praise.
We attend funerals one day, and visit newborn babies the next.
We rejoice that our home was not destroyed by violent storms while we hear of others who lost everything.
We are broken hearted over the thousands who die in an earthquake whilst we are ecstatic about one baby rescued in the rubble.
How do we navigate this road of so many different realities?
How do I reconcile an environment of faith, and hope, only to walk amongst those whose dreams are shattered by their current circumstances?
Simply put, we must learn to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.
Our world needs people who don’t ignore pain and suffering, but allow it to do its work in raising emotions of right-anger, and even hate for the conditions some people face relentlessly each day.
Unless you and I can touch anger we cannot know true peace.
Unless we can hate suffering, then our love for people will not be deep enough to respond sacrificially.
My hatred for poverty, scarcity and starvation in other people’s lives will have a corresponding response of love if I allow it time to touch my soul.
Let’s not move too quickly from what we call negative emotions to the detriment of a corresponding positive response of compassion, or prayer, or the fight for justice.
Instead, anger for wrongful laws may run deep enough to bring about a corresponding response of reform. Isn’t that how the movement to abolish slavery began? What about the death penalty?
Imagine if our hatred of disease and love for others prompted the urgency to find cures. Isn’t that how Malaria is slowly being eradicated?
Only those who look long enough at the tragedy in Nepal will give towards the relief efforts to ensure help is given long after the media have dropped it. Media may only last for a night, but money works when we sleep.
Today, I challenge you and I challenge me, don’t run from the opportunity to help others. Let your passion be driven not only by what you love but also by what you hate.