It’s been hard these last few months in Charleston.

We became the face of police brutality.

We became the face of animal cruelty.

We became the face of gun violence.

We became the Holy City that went through a night of hell.

Have you ever walked through downtown Charleston? It’s beautiful.

The sun kisses your skin nearly every day of the year.

The harbor winks at you when the moon makes its appearance every night.

The aromas of Lowcountry bites tease you as you walk along the streets.

The few cobblestone paths that still linger embrace you in a romantic embrace.

And the people. . .the people are just as beautiful.

We lost some of those people to a hate crime last night. Hate. It feels strange using that word even though we are in the deep south and racism still sneers at us on occasion. Hate. How do you overcome hate? How do we move past it? How do we not let it consume us? How do we mourn without harboring hate? How?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-45

Love. That’s how. It’s not a simple whisper of a phrase. It’s not just an outstretched hand. It’s a complete spiritual renewal of what God has called us to do. It’s an act of completely relying on Him to allow HIS LOVE to shine through us. It’s proving that the Holy City is a “city upon a hill”.

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14

I love you, my Charleston.