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Love does conquer all, love does win, love is the best force to drive out hatred, I truly believe that. You can’t fix hatred with more hatred. But…love is also sometimes about saying no, it is about rebuking that which is just plain wrong, it is about holding people accountable. Sometimes it seems as if that aspect of love gets forgotten in our world. I grow weary of all the excuses, the lack of personal accountability.

Many people don’t realize it, but pity can actually kill. Pity robs people of their power. So when we blame poverty, mental illness, race, religion, the circumstance in which someone grew up, the economy, we aren’t actually loving people, we’re robbing them of their power. We’re also casting disparaging remarks on those who have walked through challenging circumstances, we’re speaking helplessness over them, we’re robbing them of their power.

The idea that hatred is learned is not totally without merit, but often forgotten is the fact that hatred is also chosen. So is violence and crime and ugly words and a lack of faith and misrepresenting Christ. Chosen.

The bible speaks of how we will all be held accountable for what we say and do, every word and this is true regardless of our circumstances, regardless of what life deals us. We can’t control what we are handed but we sure can control how we respond to it. Joseph of the many-colored coat, is maligned by his family, thrown into a pit, sold into slavery. He has every reason to hate, to focus on revenge, to despair, to fail, but he doesn’t, he knows the condition of his heart is his responsibility. He may not be able to control what happens to him, but he is accountable for how he responds.

Every time someone does something bad, we try to rationalize it, to explain it, to weave excuses around, to pin it on outside forces. Cause and effect is a real thing in the world, but seldom confronted is the fact that we ourselves are often the cause, that we have made a choice to embrace sin, yes sin. It is not politically correct to say that these days, but we all have a sin nature within us and if we nourish that and feed it and embrace it and allow it to flourish, we have chosen to do so. Chosen.

I don’t like confronting this truth, this reality, myself. I like to fix things. I like to believe that if  we just love people enough, they will come around, they will see the Light. I too often forget the other part of the equation, that we ourselves must make a choice, that I myself cannot will people into the Light.

Love without accountability is not actually love at all and as a result it winds up conquering nothing. I empathize with the broken, the bitter, the cynical, the hate filled, the resentful, the unloved, but I can tell you right now that God is a God of accountability and we are all without excuse when it comes to what we choose to embrace.