AUGUST 25, 1954
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—The sermon in our church on last Sunday dealt with the admonition to love one another, and the misunderstandings which might arise over the question of forgiveness and how often that forgiveness should be granted.
In thinking it over afterwards, it seemed to me that in the world today it is sometimes rather difficult to follow the spirit and the teachings of Christ.
I long ago ceased to have the slightest feeling about anything which is said about myself or done by people who want to hurt me. But sometimes it is hard to keep down resentment when things which you know are untrue are said about the dead. And it is even harder to keep down that resentment when things are said to harm and when truth is distorted about the living.
I do not think I really hate anyone in the world, but I must say that sometimes I find it puzzling to separate the sin which is being committed from the sinner. I am sure of one thing, however. If in any way we can keep from war during the next few years, that achievement certainly will be one of the things that church people will feel has helped them to achieve the ideals of their religions. For war certainly intensifies all the hatreds between people.
Some people I know feel that the strain today—the possibility of atomic war—is unbearable. But that, I think, is really a challenge to those of us who believe that God will not destroy willingly. Only if we, through our blindness, fail to carry out His will as we have in the past, and perhaps will again, will we (not God) achieve destruction.
That knowledge should make us work harder than we have ever worked to build a better world. We have to follow our own lights, of course, and others may feel that what we do is not the kind of thing they consider good. Here again we have to rely upon the majority of people coming together on what is the best method of developing the good in the world in which we live.
It seems to me that our best instrument, internationally, for bringing people together is found in the United Nations, and I hope and pray that we may strengthen that organization and allow it to do the best possible work for keeping peace. Without a forum of this kind and a meeting place for the representatives of the people it is difficult to imagine how greater understanding among people can be developed and a world kept at peace.
I am convinced, however, that one of the essential steps that must be taken throughout the world is for individuals to try to set their own houses in order, to get rid of feelings of hate and to try to develop charity and understanding in the circles that they individually touch.