It is often easier to react. Don’t think. Never consider. Let one’s emotions simply be what they are. Express, vent, and move on. Society seemingly understands. We are less and less accountable to others for our outbursts. Strings of intense emotional words come and go without any apparent lasting impact on anyone involved. It is as if the emotional rollercoaster adds to the cycles of life without any serious thought as to what it is doing to the lives of those touched.
There are different forms of expression which we now accept as everyday occurrences. Road rage was unknown just a decade or so ago. Angry, emotional, and abusive letters carried consequences; emails rarely do. Songs of protest and anger used to be wrapped in subtlety and nuances. This is a new world. At least we think it is.
The tendency to treat other human beings as something other than human is not new. Through the ages the sentiment if not the practice has been real. We talk of slavery as if it was something which arose suddenly and was subsequently dealt with. We assume society was more fair, equal, and compassionate than it is today. The truth is hard to accept. The rich have exploited the weak, powerless, and poor for centuries. Even those in positions of moral leadership often reacted to those filled with arrogance, pride, and self. Their words lacked anything resembling compassion; “A degenerate race, facedown in the gutter. Don't bother with them! They're not worth forgiving!” (Isaiah 2.9) Yet there is little that has changed from then until now.
It isn’t easy. The situation is overwhelming. People in the hundreds of thousands and millions are being ground to death by dictators. Equal numbers are struggling to survive in the absence of anything resembling hope. Millions walk, eat, and sleep in fear.
The question we face is not what we do with the millions. The question is simply this; how will you respond to the person(s) in your reach within this moment? Will compassion win or self? On your answer hope rests.
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