The late singer Robert Palmer hit it big on the pop charts in the 1980s with a song called, "Addicted to Love" which had the refrain, "Might as well face it your addicted to love."
But this week, I am seeing evidence of an addiction not to love, but to love's opposite, hate.
There was the story out of central Arkansas of the man managing a Democratic congressional candidate's campaign against a Tea Party Republican who came home with his children one evening to find the family's pet cat hanging on the porch. The killers left their calling card on the animal's corpse by scrawling "Liberal" in black permanent marker on the dead cat's side.
There was the way House Majority leader Eric Cantor went from wrinkled brow to sly smirk during the State of the Union address last night. A smirk that conveyed what was likely going through his head as the President pushed for Congress to stop stalling on his plans to help create more long-term jobs in this country; namely, "Yeah, right, Nobama! Ain't gonna happen!"
There were the homophobic and Christian-bashing comments that are now associated with a video that I made a few years ago. If I were my teen-age self, I might have been crushed but some of the name-calling. But I'm an adult and I know most people who comment on the internet using a pseudonym are cowards and desperate for attention. Especially a pseudonym like "TrustinJesus." I do trust in Jesus; hence--like the Ziggy Marley song says--"I don't condemn, I don't convert." I don't have to because that's the role of God, not me. I am supposed to reflect God's love and allow it to flow through me to others. But it's the Love that works on the individual's heart and mind that will do the condemning and converting.
That's what happened with Paul. Today was the day we celebrated his conversion to Christianity, a truly remarkable story of a man addicted to hating those who professed Christ as the Messiah who encounters Christ on the road to Damascus and is turned around for good... which wasn't just good, it was great! Paul is one of the first to experience the risen Christ, and that encounter led to him becoming one of the early church's evangelists-extraordinaire. He started churches, and wrote letters, and became an advocate for spreading this message of Love to the Gentile population. Paul went from being addicted to his hatred to inescapably in Love. He was redeemed, and his redemption tells a story of how powerful Love can be.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Darkness can not drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that." That certainly seems to be true. And the only answer to those who are seemingly addicted to their hatred and distrust everyone and everything is to continue responding in love, knowing that there will be a price to pay for that.