In the movie “Shawshank Redemption”, Morgan Freeman has an iconic line that he says; “Hope is dangerous!” There is more to the scene, but for the life of me at the time I saw it, I didn’t understand fully how hope could be dangerous. Now I have a much better idea.
Hope empowers, hope is on the side of good, and hope is a gift from God. Being optimistic is not the same as hope, optimistic is fleeting, and hope is enduring and hope can change the way people see the world. So how is love dangerous when it sounds so good?
Hope is dangerous to those who want us to be afraid. Hope offers change. For those who want to control us, they want us hopeless. Who are they you ask? The New Testament speaks of the powers of darkness that wish to hide the love and hope of God’s Grace. Those who tells us something is hopeless, someone is unforgiveable or beyond redemption use lies to deceive us. This can make us desperate and afraid, controllable and easily manipulated.
Hope reminds us that there is something more and in Christ, that hope will not be disappointed. Hope build us up, gives us purpose and direction. Hopelessness is quite the opposite, it is destructive and demeaning, caustic and confusing.
As a follower of Christ, I am called by God’s Word and the Sacraments to be a purveyor of hope. To share it, celebrate it and live in it.
A person who is filled with the hope that God gives, is not easily manipulated, is able to better deal with the fear that pervades our world. A person filled with hope loves, a person who is hopeful acts in ways that make life better for others.
The floods, the political polarization, the religious intolerance, the financial uncertainties could all make us feel like the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Hope doesn’t say God will come in fix all of this, hope says God gives us the power and ability to do so!
You see hope really is dangerous, it can change the world!