I feel so very deeply these days. Paris broke my heart. I don’t have any direct connection to the city, as some do; yet the tears of those who have lost loved ones have reached across the ocean and seeped into my soul. I see the reaction our government has taken and the dialogue flowing through social media, and all I see is fear, anger, and hate. So many are talking about spreading love but my assumption is that I have surrounded myself with a small percentage of people who are similar to me – like attracts like, so to speak. But hate also attracts hate.
I won’t say that I have enough information at this point to make any claims for or against the argument, but it seems as though some in America have made this a religious war, i.e., “all Muslims are ISIS.” During a moment of silence for Paris before the Packers game, someone in the crowd yelled out “Muslims suck.” In response, Aaron Rodgers commented that “it’s that kind of prejudicial ideology that puts us in the position we are today as a world.” I could not agree more. Instead of blaming one party or another, I think we all could spend a little time looking in the mirror. Emotions cloud judgment and though we all have a right to be angry at what is happening in our world today, perhaps the better thing to do is to go inward.
Being a Christian, there have been many things that have happened recently that has made me ashamed of some others who claim to be Christian as well. As Christians, we were never given there right to hate and judge as some seem to feel they can. The very foundation of beliefs has become weapons for that hatred and judgment.
I recently found an interesting article talking about the concept of kindness. In “Inspire Me Today,” Gail Goodwin says that kindness is a conscious choice we choose to make every day. She then goes on to list a multitude of religions and belief systems where the idea of kindness is a common thread.
“For each religion, the words may be different but the core belief is the same…
Bahá’í Faith: Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself. – Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings
Buddhism: Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. – The Buddha, Udana-Varga 5.18
Christianity: In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. – Jesus, Matthew 7:12
Confucianism: One word which sums up the basis of all good conduct….loving-kindness. Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself. – Confucius, Analects 15.23
Hinduism: This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. – Mahabharata 5:1517
Islam: Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself. – The Prophet Muhammad, Hadith
Jainism: One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated. – Mahavira, Sutrakritanga 1.11.33
Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it. – Hillel, Talmud, Shabbath 31a
Native Spirituality: We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive. – Chief Dan George
Sikhism: I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all. – Guru Granth Sahib, p.1299
Taoism: Regard your neighbour’s gain as your own gain and your neighbour’s loss as your own loss. – Lao Tzu, T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien, 213-218
Unitarianism: We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. – Unitarian principle
Zoroastrianism: Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself. – Shayast-na-Shayast 13.29″
Gail’s last observation was one that I wish I could shout from a mountaintop: “Isn’t it an oxymoron that all religions teach the practice of loving kindness, yet we use our differences in religion to justify being unkind to one another? Perhaps it’s time to make kindness a conscious choice rather than a random act” I wish I could shake every person and say, “Don’t you understand what you are doing?”
Kindness. It might be one of the most difficult things to show in the midst of fear and anger, but if we can take a step back, breath before reacting, and consciously choose kindness every day, we can change world.
And for those of you who are feeling as deeply as I am, use your voice and whatever skill you may have to bring more of this kindness to the world. We may be small, but we are mighty.
My hope for you today, and every day, is that you Be You. Fearlessly.