By Fred Cavaiani

The sad picture of a three year old Syrian boy being washed up on a Turkish beach jolts us into reality. The reality is that whenever there is terrorism and persecution innocent people suffer. It is human nature to flee from persecution. When your life is in danger you seek safe ground. This little boy with his family were trying to find safe ground. At this moment many refugees are seeking safe ground in Europe, Canada and the United States. Terrorist groups have been with the human race for centuries. There were other names before: Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Idi Amin and many others throughout time would espouse a movement where murder and terrorism of the masses was the order of the day. And again many countries would be afraid to accept these refugees of terrorism.

Today the countries of the world are faced with a decision: to live in fear or to live in love. Fear and love have been fighting each other for years both in our personal lives and in the political and religious lives of nations. We live in fear of strangers, new ideas, and new ways of looking at life. Nations are afraid of accepting wandering refugees. It will upset our way of life! We live in the fear that our world is not big enough. Our country is not big enough to embrace people from different races, religions and countries. We live in fear that evil lurks everywhere.

When we live in fear we can condemn others who do not share our fear or think as we do. Anyone who does not share our fear becomes an enemy and eventually will have to be cast out, imprisoned, or labeled as unpatriotic and a danger to the common good of the country. Walls then have to be built to keep people out. More prisons and refugee camps are needed to "keep people in place."

When an individual lives life in fear then God becomes a punishing Father who is looking to find mistakes instead of seeking to love, care and nourish. When a nation abandons the basic principle of love which is to love, care and nourish everyone, that country begins to disintegrate. When a person stops loving, that individual becomes bitter and resentful and starts to disintegrate. When I live my life based on fear instead of love, I will turn my fear into resentment, bitterness and see all who are different from me as an enemy to be avoided. The sad part of all of this is when there is little love in my life that enemy becomes my own personal self and I become absolutely miserable.

When a nation becomes preoccupied with fear instead of love, that nation will do terrible things to people. Terrorist groups are filled with fear. Critical and abusive people are filled with fear. They become fearful of anyone who doesn't hate in the same manner because their security can only come in having an enemy. When I am really feeling insecure inside, I need to have an enemy to feel secure.

However, when I base my life on loving others, being kind and compassionate toward everyone, welcoming all to my community and country, amazing things will happen. I bring out the best in everyone. Even the most abusive and controlling of people cannot control love. Love becomes the greatest weapon of all because it turns hatred back upon the perpetrators. It also touches the best in every person's heart. Love brings more people close together than any fear or hatred.

Fear vs. Love is the continual battle in our hearts. It is the continual battle between nations. So many years ago the statement was made by a man named John: "God is Love and he and she who live in Love, live in God and God lives in her and him." Powerful statement! It can probably be found in the heart of any religion and in any positive philosophy and theology.

Yet we are afraid to love. It becomes easier to let fear dominate our lives. Have you ever experienced peaceful and loving people following a leader who promotes isolationism, personal criticism of other people, hatred, fear, and war? The greatest leaders promote love and peace and practice love and peace both personally and professionally, regardless of the cost.

Strangers pounding on our frontiers to be let in to have a better life and to flee from fear for their lives certainly challenge us to discover how we are leading our own lives. Does fear win? Or does Love win? The more love wins, the more peace I experience. The more fear wins, the more misery I experience. The more Love wins, the better and safer place the world becomes. The more fear wins, the more dangerous and embattled the world becomes. Love will overcome. Try it consistently in your own personal life.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage & family therapist and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and Henry Ford Medical Center. Fred conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeastern Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is

Published: Wed, Sep 09, 2015