Love & Justice in the Extreme

Love & Justice in the Extreme


As I write this column, we are witness to extremes of historic proportions;  the threat of nuclear war with North Korea set against the vision of cooperation begun between North and South Korea; Our President at odds with his once closest ally and bi-partisan  efforts to envision reasonable border security; the spectacle of rampant sexual violence in our entertainment and business industries (just name two) and the #timesup and #metoo movements spreading hope and awakening the courage of many who have been victim to sexual abuse.  In the midst of such turmoil and truth-telling we are given another glimpse of the consequences of violence and the call to justice; a vision that was well articulated by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose work and witness we honor again this weekend.  It was Dr. King who reminded us,

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extremists of justice? 

May we take the opportunities afforded each of us, during this moment in history, to find and declare the truths that are so much a part of each of our stories.  May we have the courage to share these truths with all those who will listen and may we in turn, listen and affirm that which is shared with us.  Ultimately, may we find hope and courage in the midst of the turmoil to imagine a “new day” as Oprah reminded us this week, and with that vision, together, continue to boldly craft the world anew.

Rev. Aaron Payson, Minister