The Simple But Unexpected Answer to Hate

 In Inner First Class

Police shootings. Government corruption. Interpersonal tensions rising. Confusion, fear and anxiety. Sometimes the weight of the world surrounds us, suffocating us.

There is a lot of negativity in the world. Because of the non-stop bombardment of news and social media we seem to hear more of it than ever. Hiding from it doesn’t do anything to help, but neither does immersing ourselves in it. So what do we do? How do we protect ourselves from the dark power of the negative while still knowing enough about it to know how to make a change in the world?

It may be satisfying to lash out at someone who disagrees with us, but that is not going to improve the situation. It will only exacerbate a problem. The only thing that makes a bad situation worse…or better…is our reaction to it.

When I see things in the world that make me sick, it helps to imagine what the heroes of the past would have done or said in response. What would Jesus do is a popular phrase, but I seldom see people doing what He would have done. What about Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr? Mother Theresa?

When people discuss what is “wrong” with the world, their solution is usually that “the world would be a better place if people were just more like me.” I’ve been caught up in the same mindset. It’s always about getting someone else to change. They are the problem. Them. Those people. I’m holy and righteous and pure.

But we aren’t.

We’ve all harbored ill will in our hearts. We’ve all done the wrong thing, said the wrong thing or failed to do or say the right thing.

But so have our heroes. That’s because no one is perfect.

I believe that the only answer to both putting the shackles on the darkness of hate, racism and blame and doing something to make a change for the better is friendship. The more different types of friends we have the more understanding we are of different types of people. It’s hard to hate a group of people if you have close friends who are part of that group. Reach out to and become friends with people of different races, religions and political persuasions. Make them part of your life and understanding will follow.

We can march in the streets demanding change. We can petition the government for change. We can argue on Facebook or Twitter until we wear out our keyboards. But you cannot influence the heart of a person until you care about them. How will they know you care? When you talk to them; invite them to lunch or dinner; give their child a birthday gift; share a secret with them; help them build their dreams.

You know….the things that friends do.

To paraphrase MLK Jr, only love can drive out hate. We can look for nationwide or global answers, but until we as individuals are willing to love it will do no good.

What do you say? You are I are the same. Let’s be friends.






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