My mind has been racing in light of the recent events we’ve seen throughout the world. The gut-wrenching news of genocide, police brutality, and unnecessary killings of both civilians and police officers are the results of hatred, prejudice, and discrimination; all of these could have been prevented. Sadly, there seems to be a sense of laissez-faire for some of these occurrences that should be an outrage to everyone. Something is deeply wrong when sympathy and empathy are present ONLY if it relates to us personally or a group to which we identify. All lives should be viewed as priceless, thus deserving of preservation. Until we all arrive to that conclusion by having a moral compass that defies race, religion, socio-economic status, gender and sexual orientations, hatred-filled actions and reactions about socio-political issues will keep rising. Once we begin to start seeing EVERYONE from a love perspective, we will start treating each other in the same manner we all would like to be treated. A simple technique that can allow us to achieve that is to put oneself in the other person’s shoes before doing anything that could be offensive in any way. For instance, prior to uttering a comment that could be interpreted as mean-spirited or offensive, ask yourself how you would feel if you were on the receiving end of it. And do your very best to answer that question truthfully.
Below are some poignant questions I have pondered for the sake of gaining insights.
– Why is it that if we’re not the ones suffering we can’t even bring ourselves to sympathize or empathize with the one who’s undergoing trials?
– Why is it that our minds go the negative route when it comes to what another is facing (which we’re not accustomed to, because we are privileged to be free of such predicament)?
– Could it be that we are lacking in certain characteristics which are conducive to the sense of humanity needed in order to be compassionate, empathetic and sympathetic? The same way our bodies may incur a level of deficiency in certain vitamins or enzymes, which prevents adequate physical functions, one may also be deficient in certain characteristics that may prevent the development of certain humanitarian capacities (I.e. being able to see past oneself to truly see a fellow man’s struggles without making it something that it isn’t (simply to either make ourselves feel good or void of remorse)?
– Could such deficiency be the origin of the socio-political chaos and the resulting bloodshed we are witnessing worldwide? A deficiency in empathy and sympathy is bound to trigger sociopathic mindsets, which in turn leads to sociopathic behaviors.
We owe it to ourselves to ponder these questions as a means to rectify any character deficiencies that are potentially harmful to those around us, as well as the broader communities within which we interact.
Doing that is one way to contribute to change in our world; the more sensible we become toward others, the greater chance we have at eliminating hatred, violence, and injustice in our world. Also, being willing to speak up about unlawful actions/treatments against our fellow men is another means to bring about social reform. As per Albert Einstein’s words, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” In other words, we should not look away when we are witnessing another person or group’s suffering and any injustice inflicted upon them. Speaking of injustice, no injustice goes unnoticed to the ruler of heaven and earth, because He cares about ALL of mankind (not just some). Aside from injustice and speaking up about it, doing something at whatever capacity may jumpstart some form of societal change, even if it takes place only in one’s community. For instance, change can be reached within oneself through learning about other cultures, which could prevent misconceptions, prejudice, racism, and discrimination. The point is to do something to contribute to the betterment of interrelationships in our society.
These minimal efforts are sure to show us a different perspective… others’ perspective of our words/actions. Compassion will be imminent whenever we utilize these methods; they will trigger healthier communion with one another.
It’s time for us to try something new. What we’ve been doing has only led to mutual hurt, chaos, and unnecessary bloodshed. It’s time to stop looking away in the presence of injustice deemed irrelevant to us. As the great Maya Angelou stated, “When we know better, we do better”. Let us learn more productive ways to communicate and collaborate with each other, so we may leave a better legacy to the generations to come. All this can be achieved when we look to the One who is greater than all of us:
“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” 2 Chronicle 7:14
Louise Beaubrun-Macaluso, PhD