Opinion: Make love your revolutionary choice

West Ham archdeacon Elwin Cockett says we don't have respond as told to by the media or politicians.

West Ham archdeacon Elwin Cockett says we don't have respond as told to by the media or politicians. - Credit: Elwin Cockett

That great English patriot, Rudyard Kipling, who wrote ‘If’, and ‘Kim’, and ‘the Jungle Book’, once suggested that we cannot know ourselves as a nation until we have seen what we look like from the perspective of others.

"What do they know of England who only England know?", he wrote, and although he was thinking of the British Empire when he did so, his question applies equally well to other parts of the world, too.

Our nation has been through a pretty torrid time lately. Not only has the country appeared painfully split, but families, friendships and even marriages have suffered as people have said and felt things that have cut very deep. People watching from abroad have wondered what on earth is going on.

I've been reading a wonderful book: 'Gilead' by Marilynne Robinson. President Obama loved it, and I see why. In one key section, the author puts these words into the mouth of the main character: "When you encounter another person, when you have dealings with anyone at all, it is as if a question is being put to you. So you must think, What is the Lord asking of me in this moment, in this situation? If you confront insult or antagonism, your first impulse will be to respond in kind. But if you think, as it were, This is an emissary sent from the Lord, and some benefit is intended for me... you are free to act otherwise than as circumstances would seem to dictate. You are freed (from) the impulse to hate or resent that person.'

In our current situation, we have a choice. We don't have to respond to each other as the media or politicians say that we should. Whatever our views, we can decide to do the revolutionary thing, the thing that the Bible tells us to do: Love our neighbours, our friends, our family members, and even our enemies.

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