Plunged into the Dark Abyss


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 the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
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.
Hate multiplies hate,
violence multiplies violence,
and toughness multiplies toughness
in a descending spiral of destruction….
The chain reaction of evil —
hate begetting hate,
wars producing more wars —
must be broken,
or we shall be plunged
into the dark abyss of annihilation.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from Strength to Love


The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places.
But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now
mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.
— J. R. R. Tolkien


We forget that God is right there, waiting for us to turn to him, no matter how dire our situation.  We forget the reassuring words of his messengers: “Fear not.”   God always seeks to draw close to us — even in the depths of hell.
…it comes down to this: the only way to truly overcome our fear of death is to live life in such a way that its meaning cannot be taken away by death.  It means fighting the impulse to live for ourselves, instead of for others.  It means choosing generosity over greed.  It also means living humbly, rather than seeking influence and power.  Finally, it means being ready to die again and again — to ourselves, and to every self-serving opinion or agenda.

~Johann Christoph Arnold


This week, bullets have been fired out of fear and anger by, and have struck down, people who look and are just like us.  Shed tears never need translation or interpretation, no matter what color cheeks they moisten.

Distrust and fear continue to impact our communities daily, settling like a shroud over the most routine activities.  So we must fall back on what we were told long ago and each and every day in 365 different verses in the Word itself: fear not.

Do not be overwhelmed with evil but overcome evil with good.

The goal of this life is to live for others, to live in such a way that death cannot erase the meaning and significance of a life.  We are called to give up our selfish agendas in order to consider the dignity of others and their greater good.

Cherish life, all lives, including, as is crystal clear from Christ’s example,  those who are so fearful, they hate and want to murder us.

Our only defense against evil is God’s offense; only He will lead us to Tolkien’s “where everything sad will come untrue”, where tears are no longer shed in sorrow,  but can only be tears of joy.


4 thoughts on “Plunged into the Dark Abyss

  1. ‘Abyss’ is the perfect word to describe where we are and have been for some time. My dictionary defines it simply as a ‘deep bottomless gulf.’ The key word here for me is ‘bottomless,’ inferring no end in sight, impossible to gauge dangers the further we sink into its unknown emptiness.

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s reminder to us of the oft-used biblical quotation that ‘darkness cannot drive out darkness.’ is especially apt. It is a caveat that we need to take to heart. Christ tells us that He is the Light of the World. His is the ONLY Light that can or will save us. It is His Love that will soften human hearts and give us His vision that we truly are ALL His creation – no exceptions intended.

    Lighting memorial candles at the site of individual executions and mass murders that are generated by raw, naked hatred of ‘the other,’ is an admirable, well-intentioned gesture.
    But we, as people who profess to follow Jesus’ teaching, must go further – and deeper – than that. We have no choice. He has given us the tools; it is up to us to furnish the resolve
    that this hatred must end now. The alternative is unthinkable!

    One of the tools I’m thinking of here, dear Emily, is your reminder: ‘Don’t be overwhelmed with evil but overcome evil with good.” Sounds as if it were an impossible feat. It can be.. Because we are fighting spiritual warfare (Paul discusses this at length). But, as noted above, we ARE armed with the tools to combat this evil that is tearing us apart, day by day, hour by hour.
    It starts, as many good efforts do, with one person, one step, one dedicated resolve at a time. And the most comforting, beautiful reality of our struggle and our resolve is that WE ARE NOT ALONE; HE WALKS BESIDE US.


  2. Great post for our sad times.
    There once was a man who trained other men to hate. After the training period was up and the men indoctrinated, the man tested them. He lined them up shoulder to shoulder ordering the first to strike the man next to him hard; and he obeyed. On and on this went, one after the other obeying the order to strike the man next to him. The sixth man in line was ordered to strike. He turned raised his hand then stopped. He refused to obey the order. That is where hate begins to end.


  3. Thank you for this hope. Our hope is only through Jesus Christ but sometimes the evil in this world drives me to despair.


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