When we were visiting our son who is stationed near Pensacola, we drove alongside a pickup truck—a common vehicle on the roads. What shocked us was the olive-drab machine gun mounted on the truck’s cab. While there was no visible ammo and we assumed it was non-operational, it’s the thought that counts. What message does an automatic weapon communicate to fellow travelers and our grandchildren who were riding with us. Besides being anxious for their safety, how do we explain to young children about why someone threatens violence? Having shot weapons during our Army training, we know machine guns are not used to put meat on the dinner table. This isn’t an essay about gun rights, school shootings, or second amendment. This is about choosing how we interact with others, whether with kindness or in ways that imply contempt or otherwise promote violence.
We can be concerned about many things, but we can only control a relatively small number. We need to start with what we can influence. People can endorse violence, in what they say or how they act. Humans have the capacity to be kind or mean.
This is a holy week for both Christian and Jewish faiths. Many Americans consider themselves Christian. But as Billy Sunday says: “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.” Today is Good Friday when Christians remember and mourn Jesus, who was tortured and crucified. Along with going to church services, this might be an opportunity to translate religious beliefs into compassionate actions. It used to be that one connected religion with supporting and promoting compassion, disdaining violence and hatred. After two years studying religion in a master’s program, my perception has shifted — the more religious people proclaim themselves to be, the more judgmental they are about others who don’t fit within a narrow circle of beliefs they consider acceptable. Please prove me wrong.
What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Human ♥ Kind: They don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Treat others the way you want to be treated. You get what you give.
© Joan S Grey, 30 Mar 2018
IndexCardCure™: be nice