I'm sure I'm not different than anyone else who has logged into any social media platform in the last few days. Our news feed is full of stories of great tragedy. We read these stories and shake our heads. We wonder what is happening to us and what kind of place are we leaving for our children. We also see posts from our friends and family, pages we follow and others we watch from a far and we see all types of comments. Some inspiring and uplifting. Some ask for prayers and some show compassion for the victims. But so many tell a different story. So many are full of outrage and anger.
To some extent I understand these posts. We are all angry to some extent. We all feel like we are not being heard but most of all we all feel like we are being attacked, and that's because we are. We have come to a place where attacking someone is common place. In fact, it's almost become our duty. We have come to a place where we believe we are fighting a just fight and those who stand in the way must be taken down. We are also not only happy to take them down but we are proud when we do. We celebrate the destruction of individuals who do nothing more than view the world differently than us. It seems harmless enough when it's someone high profile. A politician, they are all scum lairs anyway right? A celebrity with a platform to speak their mind. Take them down! Ruin their life! Take away their ability to earn a living! It's OK we tell ourselves. They have money, just go away. We somehow believe our opinion is superior to theirs and our takes precedent over theirs.
Our hearts have become so cold that it extends to faceless people on the computer. We argue with strangers in the comments sections of news articles and the glow of the screen makes us brave. We insult and point fingers. We make fun of and worse yet, hope they are met with some horrible tragedy. We leave facts and common sense behind because we cannot let the other get the best of us. We have become a nation of hate.
We can see it in our political system. The people we choose to represent us in the highest office are the best examples of who we have become. One attacks anyone who he feels attacks him, and the other sees half the voting population at the enemy. Oh the cheers when they proclaim that they will put the other in their place. Yes we want to see those we agree with fail, because that means we win, or does it.
This weekend I made the mistake on the comment section of a friend on Facebook. One of the comments on a post she shared was ironic. The person made several rude comments about a few groups of people and told the poster that her life was messed up. (I cleaned it up) Then in the last sentence he wrote. Be nice. I laughed so hard at the irony that I had to point it out. This then unleashed a rant from the original poster. What struck me as odd is that this person wrote such strange things that he believes I am. He does not know me but assumes all types of things about me through association with the original poster. He sees me as this cartoon version of what he thinks I might be and yet he is so far off. Yet that is where we are. We only see each other as this or that. We don't care how you got to this because I am that and that makes you wrong.
All this talk about love winning is great. It makes us feel good and it gets tons of likes and shares. But it does nothing. Until we start living out love then love will never win. Love does not mean agreeing. Love does not mean you approve. What love does, is in the face of those you disagree with most, listens, tries to understand why there is a difference, tries to find the common ground and then stands with that person wherever that is. Penn Jillette, an atheist, understands that Christians believe in salvation and considers it an insult if a Christian doesn't try to save him. He thinks they are full of it, but he understands why you would try. That is compassion. That is LOVE!
If we want love to win then we need to practice it. It can only start with ourselves. We always want to convince others that they need to change. That they need to be more like...us. But we can only change ourselves and the best way to change others is to live it out ourselves. Love can win and it must but it must exist first and it can only start with you.