Too much hate and division. Too much judgmentalism and hypocrisy. Love is the answer, but is manifest in both mercy and justice. Solutions are often much more complex than our first impressions and can have unintended ramifications that elude initial projection and reason. Consequences compound and spiral out of control while voices are raised and fingers are pointed.

It’s going to get worse. The last chapter has already been written and no matter how we try to change things corporately the outcome is predetermined. Creation is corrupted. It’s fullness was rejected and traded in for willful disobedience and disharmony . . . all because we want the power, the control, the rank of the divine.

Trite statements of “why can’t we all get along?” and “coexist” and, yes, “love is the answer,” fail to capture the true reality and deeper understanding. Sound bites, bumper stickers and 140 characters replace the harder quest for knowledge and resolution. Will and wisdom are jettisoned. And the talk without the walk becomes part of the broader hypocrisy and toxicity.

Conflict and competition are innate in us. Whether it is nation against nation, cause versus cause, team pitted against team or gang resisting gang, we naturally divide into “us versus them.” One of my favorite lyricists penned, “better the pride that resides in a citizen of the world, than the pride that divides when a colorful rag is unfurled.” But although that thought is ultimately one of longing, a surface view leaves some to conclude that it’s one of judgement or condescension; some to believe it to be a desirable and obtainable goal; and others who simply see it as a whimsical fantasy. The complexity causes the wise to stumble, the foolish to rally against symptoms only, and the apathetic to stick their collective heads in the sands of time.

“Love your God,” means rejecting other Gods. “Love your neighbor” means protecting that neighbor against stronger aggressors who are supposed to be our neighbors also. In a fallen world where darkness exists, love itself is only love and worthy of respect if it also takes up the sword and shield. What mother wouldn’t protect her young child with body, arms and talons if faced by a “neighbor” who has cast desire and evil intent upon her child? And what respect would we show for a person who stands idly by as a mother and child are attacked or exploited because all of them are “neighbors” and those who are seen as perpetrators should be accepted because of their different desires and means?

It’s a complicated world. Or so we make it.

Again, the course has already been charted. We set those sails long ago in ages past. Further hate and division will come cloaked as tolerance and acceptance. Those who are supposed to be known for their love will be further identified by their double-talk and prejudice. Wrongs will continue to be specified, ranked and compartmentalized by subjective individual means instead of being recognized as the general evidence of a world that has completely missed the mark. Splinters will cause great debate and put factions in action . . . led by those who are blinded by logs and don’t live by their own ideals.

All creation moans.

Someday all things will change. Until then, we’re not supposed to fall victim to fatalism or hedonism, nor are we to fall victim in believing that any of us are right and pure enough to “cast the first stone” to make a difference, or to even know what that difference is that we truly seek. For our own version will always be tarnished and motivations will never be 100% pure while we reside this side of eternity.

I am as flawed as anybody and my understanding is as incomplete as anybody. I don’t try to pretend that I know all the answers. I know that my very words here are fraught with contrary or inconsistent logic . . . and that’s the very point to be made.

But my hope is certain and I believe that truth can be absolute, even if complicated and so very elusive. So, when it all comes down to it, I try to understand my limitations and predispositions and resonate in the trite and true. I simply strive to leave the world a better place than when I entered it. Yes, “better” is defined by subjective individual terms, but I hopefully see it affirmed by smiles, hugs and tears of joy.

I stay the course, knowing where it ultimately leads, with fear and trembling, but with a mind to somehow comfort others on that journey . . .

. . . Until all things are made new.