Written October 12, 2016
“We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization.” ~Dr Martin Luther King Jr
What a powerful statement that was said over 50 years ago! This was said during a time when America was deeply divided, similarly to the way it is today. It was a time when race relations were at the forefront of everyday life.
Now, today, it’s come back into the forefront of our lives. It’s even made its way into the political arena. I’m not saying there weren’t pockets of racism in the country before this but it wasn’t nearly as widespread as it is now. The thing is that today we also have reverse racism and reverse bigotry and it seems to be spreading like wildfire. Social media and the news media doesn’t help matters much.
Today, just like in the says of Dr King, we do have a unique and “glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization”. There are many, many people who’ve written blog posts or newspaper editorials as to how we can do this. They all boil down to two words – forgiveness and empathy.
I’ve spoken before on how we need to forgive each other in our hearts and this is for two main reasons. One is because if we don’t forgive, we form resentments that weigh heavily on our hearts – metaphorically and literally.
The second is that we don’t know and understand what another person is going thru. We don’t know if that person is dealing with a sick family member or they themselves may be ill. Maybe that person just lost their job or their spouse/significant other/boy(girl)friend whether it was a recent death or divorce/separation/break up. Perhaps they’re dealing with a domestic violence or child abuse issue. We have no idea what the person we have a fight with is going thru especially that store clerk who disrespected you or the family member that you don’t talk to often who said something to make you mad.
This understanding is called empathy. Empathy is the sharing or understanding of feelings. Empathy is different from sympathy, which is pity or sorrow for others’ misfortunes. When we can forgive and show empathy for what others go thru we are better able to “inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization.”
Not to long ago I received a text message from someone who was clearly upset with someone they mistook for me. I knew that person was battling their own “stuff”. Instead of engaging in a nonsensical back and forth texting war I offered to actually talk to this person and when I got no response I left the conversation there. I also forgave this person in my heart and later I gave a message to someone else to give to this person. I asked that this message be passed, “JQ Doe, I understand you were going thru something and didn’t mean what you said. I forgive you.”
Thought for the day: If someone upsets you in some way today. Say a prayer for them, consider the fact that they could be going thru something you know nothing about and forgive them.