In the last 20 days or so, the world has been alerted to an ongoing threat. Terrorism, unfortunately, is still very present in our world, but what can we do?

Over the last few weeks, my wife and I have enjoyed watching through the StarWars movies in Episode Order (1-6). It’s been a great way for us to refresh our memories before the new movie comes out in a month or so. It had been awhile since we had watched them, and I can’t remember a time where I had watched them all in order. We have had a blast laughing at the R2-D2 and C3P0 discussions and quoting our favorite characters. It turns out that my wife knows more StarWars quotes than me (I married up).

One of my favorite quotes is from Yoda in The Phantom Menace, where he says

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.  

It is such a simple concept from the little green Jedi, and yet it foreshadows what happens to Anakin.  Out of his fear of losing Padme, he becomes angry with the Jedi Counsel.  He submits himself to Supreme Chancellor Palpatine as his servant and carries out many murders.  His fear lead to anger, the anger led to hate, and the hate led to suffering of Padme’s unwillingness to continue living, and of the entire galaxy being under the power of the Empire.

I can’t help but take a look at the world’s view of the ISIS issue and see how the fear is building up to hate – not just to ISIS, but also the Syrian refugees. I understand that there is uncertainty of whether some of them may be terrorists. I am no expert in the subject and do not claim to be, but in my studying of the subject over the past few weeks, it seems evident that becoming a refugee to this country (USA) requires a lot of checkpoints. I don’t mean to alarm you and I’m not the first to say it, but if a terrorist wanted to come to the United States, that is most likely the hardest path to getting here. Alright, enough of the political discussion..

I’m not here to make light of the situations in France, Mali, and the ongoing manhunt of the French terrorists. Those were devastating acts of evil and it is heartbreaking to hear the stories of what happened. But let’s not let the terrorists accomplish their goal: place fear in our hearts and minds that keep us from loving each other – especially people we don’t know. Let’s take a stand against terrorism and not let fear get between becoming friends with people we don’t know. In my experience, when I have been brave enough to push through the uncertainty of who someone is, I find that we are more alike than I assumed.

So instead of allowing fear to build up hate in our hearts, let’s take up arms and get good at loving each other. Love alone is worth the fight (Switchfoot).

Rather than letting stereotypes build into fear, let’s take the time to love our neighbors AND our enemies. –Matthew 5:43-48

It is our choice. It starts with us. What will you choose? Love or hate? I choose love.

Do or do not, there is no try. -Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back