As I was stopped at a traffic light a few weeks ago, I saw a bumper-sticker on the car in front of me. It was, as far as bumper stickers go, quite small, with tiny black words written on a white background. I squinted and read out loud “Love Wins.”
I giggled and said it again, louder, “LOVE WINS.”
What a wonderfully defiant little bumper sticker. It didn’t have bright, neon colors, a flashy picture, or a trademark brand icon (though I’ve seen some others on-line that do). It was the simplicity of the statement that made it so powerful, and it has stayed with me ever since.
Every day, we are told and shown the contrary, of course—watch the news (or pretty much any TV show) and see in technicolor the tragedies that stricken our communities. Go to an elementary school playground and listen to how children taunt each other. Even our churches, the very places that should be filled with graceful actions, are decidedly graceless sometimes.
Our world isn’t full of hatred, but its people certainly are–they express it openly to each other, almost gleefully. As Americans, we revel in the joy of the First Amendment and the rights it grants us, as well we should; yet, does this mean we can say anything we want simply because we have the freedom to do so?
This conversation is going on around kitchen tables, water coolers, and Keurig coffee makers across our country, and it is a good thing. We should be discussing the delicate balance between words we think are hysterically funny and edgy, but which are perceived as cruel or racist to others. I keep hearing people say, “I am so tired of everyone trying to be so politically correct all the time! It’s so stupid!” I agree, it is hard to know what someone else may find offensive, as it’s possible to be offended by just about anything.
That said, I also think we must not give up on trying to speak words that lift others up. As a Christian, I know I have to do this, and it is one of the most difficult tasks given to us by Jesus himself. It is, therefore, not a task we can take lightly. We should always be making that attempt, and when it backfires, we should have the courage to apologize for our words and actions.
I believe in the ligaments, tendons, and bones of my being that “Love Wins.” It wins because, unlike hatred, it is in it for the long haul. It is an out-laster, and is, frankly, a stubborn so-and-so.
B-Flat Christian, you were made for higher ways of thinking and being. Hatred might sell news coverage, magazines, books, movies…it will inspire millions of Youtube videos and tweets for a moment. Do not accept hateful words from yourself or others; do not let them suck you in to their vortex. Instead, make it a certainty that “Love Wins” with your words. You were born to “Speak Life.”