For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13
Recent events have caused me to ask myself “Is hate increasing in the world today?” USA Today reported that the 10 largest cities in America saw a 12.5% increase in hate crimes over last year.
Hate crimes can range in severity from property vandalism to assault to mass murder. While the majority of hate crimes are perpetrated against victims because of their race, ethnicity or ancestry, some hate crimes are motivated by religion or sexual orientation.
When seeking the cause of the recent spike in hate crimes, there has been a lot of finger pointing going on. The political left points at the right and vice versa. I actually think finger pointing to find one person or one cause responsible for the increase in hate is counterproductive.
Finger pointing brings the possibility of denial by the one who is pointed at and it absolves the pointer of all responsibility. It sets up a false “good guy/bad guy” narrative and does little to solve the problem or to mend hearts shattered again by senseless acts of violence. It allows everyone to congratulate themselves while evading responsibility.
Rather than finger-pointing, I believe that we all should accept responsibility for the hate prevalent in our country. Oh, I know that the only one responsible for the crime itself is the person who threw the rock, lit the fire, or pulled the trigger. Every human is responsible only for their own actions.
But what if each one of us took a little responsibility for increasing the amount of love and decreasing the amount of hate in the atmosphere? Lets’ begin with social media. Let me tell you a story about one of my Facebook friends, a woman I knew in real life, but have not seen in person for decades.
This person shared a post reminding everyone to be kind when discussing politics this election season. “Perfect“, I thought and “liked” the post. When I scrolled down, the very next post I came to was another by the same woman mocking members of one particular political party. Scrolling further revealed four more posts along the same lines. I unfriended her, which may not be a kind thing to do, but it decreased the amount of hate in my own social media circle. We can tell our friends that hateful comments or posts will not be tolerated, and then act on that statement if we need to. Let’s not give hate an audience.
If you want to talk politics with me, fine. I will talk politics until the cows come home. My dad was a politician during my formative years, so I learned from the best. I consider myself fairly well-informed; I form my opinions carefully and try to keep an open mind. I may disagree with you, and that’s OK. Not everyone, incredibly, believes exactly what I do. Discussing politics with me does not give you an excuse to attack my intelligence, moral values, or commitment. Let’s keep mockery, ridicule and taunting out of our discussions. Let’s not allow hate into our voices.
The verse at the beginning of this article expresses my view, more eloquently than I ever could, that we are all one people, all “members of the same body” and baptized in one Holy Spirit. Let’s not think of each other as an “us versus them” equation. Let us welcome the stranger, the other, the poor in spirit with the love and compassion we are called to give. We must stand united against hate, not divided by hate. Let us not allow hate into our thoughts.
We send our thoughts and prayers to those whose lives have been forever altered by hateful actions and it is the proper thing to do, but let’s do more than that. Let’s snuff out hate whenever we get a chance. Let’s not allow the seeds of hatred fertile ground in which to be planted. Let’s remember that we are all in this life together and that each life is precious and unique. Again, 1 Corinthians says it best.
“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it”.– 1 Corinthians 12:26
I am linking up with Reflections From Me for A Blogging Good Time, Debbie at Dare 2 Hear, Random-osity for Little Things Thursdays, It’s a Small Town Life for Thankful Thursday, Be Thee Inspired for her link up, Crystal Storms for Heart Encouragement, Susan B Mead for Dancing With Jesus, Crystal Twaddell for Fresh Market Friday, Spiritual Sundays for Welcome, Embracing the Unexpected for Grace and Truth, Anita Ojeda for Inspire Me Monday, Counting My Blessings for Faith ‘n Friends, Just a Second for Scripture and a Snapshot, Peabea Photography for Sunday Scripture Blessings, A Spirit of Simplicity for Selah, and Jessica and Amy at Live Life Well.