Yeah, I am reminiscing and walking back to 1965 when Jackie DeShannon released the popular tune, “What the World Needs Now Is Love.” That was the year I graduated from High School. It was later that year that I got my draft notice and, in the Fall of 1965, went to Bootcamp and then in 1967 found myself in Southeast Asia in the Vietnam War. Peace Signs were everywhere in America, but there was little peace and even less love being demonstrated. Factions were at war with each other politically and those of us who were somewhat a-political were often attacked by both sides as being Un-American.
I went through my tour in Vietnam with a belief that God existed but was by no stretch of the imagination a Christian. I have thought about that year ten-thousand times with the gripping reality that had I fallen on the battlefield I would have been lost for eternity. I have a fellow veteran who says, “I did not hate those I was fighting, nor did I love them. I was trying to survive.” At the beginning of my tour, I could agree with that statement but by the time I came home, I had hate, in my heart and it was consuming. I hated not only what I witnessed in the mutilation of Americans but the treatment by the Communist of the South Vietnamese people who resisted the communist. I began to view them as rabid animals needing extinction.
I came home with thoughts in my head that I would never have confessed to anyone, except possibly a fellow Vietnam Veteran who had come home from that war. Hate, distrust, and the glaring inability to open my heart to anyone was consuming me far more than most knew or suspected. I was out of place in a world where I was loved by family and respected by friends. Staying in one place was difficult and went from relationship to relationship never able to find the filler for the cavity in my heart, mind, and soul. I needed what I did not have and did not know how to find, LOVE!
I recall hearing that song in the Spring of 1968 after I had been home, a couple of months and laughed. I thought, “Love is a figment of the imagination, not real.” One of the girls I dated confided in another friend, “Roy is frightening, his mind is a deep dark prison and the walls he has built around himself are impenetrable.” She was not wrong. I had determined that I would not allow anyone. or anything to get near enough to see any of my weaknesses. The reality is, my weaknesses were exposed far more in my inability to love and allow others in than they would have been had I known how to Love and be Loved!
That changed in 1969 when I encountered God in His Saving Grace, sitting alone at a kitchen table around midnight on a Saturday night. The change was not something I had to talk about, it was visible. I thought differently, acted differently, and for the first time in a very long time, experienced love and felt love for other people. I was free and wanted everyone to be free and know the freedom that I felt. It was a new world!
Since that time, I have battled times when I would fall prey to the temptation to allow ‘un-love’, which is really ‘hate’ to live in my heart. A very wise person asked me, “Can you see into that person’s heart?” Obviously, I could not. He then said, “Unless you can, then leave that to God and love them, pray for them, and be willing to hear their side of the question.” I was taught and believe, that I do not have to agree or even associate with them if their view and lifestyle is anathema to my beliefs, but I must find it within my heart to love them and even forgive them.
What America needs is “Love, Sweet Love!” We have a political divide so pronounced that both sides of the Liberal vs Conservative political have allowed hate to squeeze out love, understanding, or tolerance. I never ask anyone to abandon their beliefs or principles in dealing with those who disagree. I only ask that we realize we do not know what is in their hearts. We do not know how they arrived at their opinion. We do not know the hurts, fears, pains, desires, goals, or dreams they hold deep inside their being.
Today’s political scene not only deems hate for the opposition as commendable but encourages it. Hate allows for a lie to be told with no remorse and considers it a justifiable means to an end. Hate elevates self and the views of the hater to the pinnacle of the mountain of intelligence, morality, sanity, and right. It also diminishes the views of the other as ignorance and often considers those opposing views as diabolical. It allows the demonizing of the person or persons holding opposing views and cheering any bad that happens to them. It excuses and justifies violence and forceful demonstrations of hate and destruction.
What the World Needs is Love! No, I do not mean sit around a campfire and sing “Kum Ba Yah.” We do need the Lord, to come by here and touch our hearts, healing us of our animosity and hate. Many do not accept the idea that God’s Love is our solution. However, can we not all agree that Hate is destroying us and extending to others a little more tolerance would be beneficial? Can we not agree that hating another because of skin pigmentation, ethnicity, religion, or political view is not helping us find solutions and is making the world less safe?
Let me be a realist and say, “We will never have a world, this side of heaven, where everybody loves everybody, is tolerant, and understanding.” That is a Utopian fantasy, not reality. That is a storybook fictional world that does not exist. I do not trust everyone! Some people have proven they are not trustworthy. I find it intolerable when anyone seeks to force their views, lifestyles, or religion on others. We need Love but we do not need Apathy.
Are there things it is acceptable to hate? Yes! Can we hate those things and not hate the people? Yes! It is not and will not be easy, but it is possible through the help of God and by His Grace. I hate the works of the devil. I hate the destruction that sin brings to lives. I hate the practices that are abominable to moral sanity, the Bible, and human dignity. I weep for those who practice those things and pray for them. I do not associate with them knowing that to do so might well be perceived as an acceptance of their practices or an endorsement of those things.
I am praying for America. Rather, I am seeking to be an intercessor for my beloved nation. I am fully convinced that if the followers of the toxic brand of liberalism embodied by those on the Left prevails politically, hate will become the norm and love and tolerance will be relegated to the shadows. I am fully convinced that if those people regain control of the government violence will escalate, freedoms will diminish, and the philosophical differences will become battle cries in the war that comes to fruition and flourish.
You may find my article out of the ordinary and providing no benefit in our struggle for reclaiming our Republic and the preservation of our Freedoms and Liberties. However, I believe we need to look deep in ourselves and ask, “How do we want others to treat us?” Then, determine to treat others that way. I believe that then and only then will we have hope of bridging the abyss that is separating us today.
God bless you and God bless America!