A Tactic of Love

Thomas Merton has often been a source of wisdom and reflection for me.  I thought these words of his from Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander were useful for all of us in these fractious times.

The tactic of nonviolence is a tactic of love that seeks the
salvation and redemption of the opponent, not [our opponent’s] castigation,
humiliation, and defeat.  A pretended nonviolence that seeks to
defeat and humiliate the  adversary by spiritual instead of physical attack is little more
than a  confession of weakness.  True nonviolence is totally different
from this, and  much more difficult.  It strives to operate without hatred, without
hostility, and without resentment.  It works without aggression, taking the  side of the good that it is able to find already present in the adversary.  This may be easy to talk about in theory.  It is not easy in practice,  especially when the adversary is aroused to a bitter and violent  defense of  an injustice which [the adversary] believes to be just.  We must therefore be careful how we talk about our opponents, and still more careful
how we  regulate our differences with our collaborators.  It is possible for the  bitterest arguments, the most virulent hatreds, to arise among those who are  supposed to be working together for the noblest of causes.

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