Evidence of choosing love toward our neighbors in Texas and Louisiana this week has not gone unnoticed following the tense weeks leading up to Harvey’s appearance. Apparently, love and empathy are more powerful than our differences. Maybe this is a good time to consider Malissa Lakin-Watson’s Aug 28 article in MyCentralJersey about choosing love over hate so that when the news coverage begins to shift away from flooding to storms of a different sort we will have considered a more appropriate way to respond to outbursts of hate. Beginning reading below but please click the link at the bottom to read the entire article.
Looking at the news these days, it would seem that people have lost all sense of civility and how to treat one another.
Discord in families, communities, and the global political landscape in general would suggest that division, hatred of “the other,” terrorism, and fear rule the day. Doing unto others as they do unto us is the “new normal.”
But civility and “loving our neighbor” is much more prevalent than it appears. When we look at day-to-day life, we do often experience small acts of kindness.
For instance: how many times has a perfect stranger opened a door for you or let you in when you were trying to merge onto the freeway? How many times have you done that for somebody? It’s interesting to note how, in the moment, we never stop to think about what political or religious affiliation someone adheres to before we decide to help. In most cases, we practice “The Golden Rule,” without even thinking about it.
The Book of Malachi in the Bible asks this question: ”Have we all not one Father, hath not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother?“ The second question here is one many may be asking themselves these days. Could it be that some of our divisive thoughts and feelings stem from identifying more rigidly with personalities, political figures, or religious differences than we do with trying to understand that we are all infinitely connected. We’re all at one with the divine source who St. Paul says, “we live and move and have our being?”
This divine source, another term for “God,” means many different things to different people. Some don’t believe God exists. But let’s consider who or what exactly this “one God” is that Malachi and St. Paul are referring to.
In my study of the Bible, I have come to understand that God is simply omnipotent and omnipresent love. Jesus taught and demonstrated this all-powerful, healing love in all he said and did. In his sermon on the mountain, he gives explicit instruction to love our enemies and to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. “The Golden Rule” is not taught just in Christianity, but also in many spiritual practices—setting the universal standard for how to treat others.
In her article titled, “Love Your Enemies,” the founder of the Christian Science Church, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote this: “Hate no one; for hatred is a plague-spot that spreads its virus and kills at last. If indulged, it masters us.”