With all the righteousness, all the judgments, all the anger and all the hate I have to wonder about the lives people are living. Where does it come from? Why so much negativity? Perhaps it’s time to ask ourselves how do we make ourselves happy, how do we positively affect the world around us?
Because in all seriousness, Where is the love? It seems all anyone is concerned about these days is justice and revenge. The “don’t screw up, we’ll destroy you” mentality.
I was reading the article about the poor autistic boy who was doused with urine and feces in a “prank” by fellow neighborhood kids. My heart ached for this young boy. My heart also ached for the teens who committed this deeply disturbing act. How can someone raise children who would do something like that? It’s sick, it’s so hateful, and so uncaring. How did this happen? My heart cried out. Who are these people?
But then I read the comments. Adults were calling for their execution, for them to be publically humiliated in the same fashion, for them to be thrown in jail for life! And then it dawned on me …
These are the very people who are raising the children of today! It’s why we have school shootings, it’s why we have suicide, it’s why we have domestic abuse and alcohol abuse and drug abuse. Our children listen to us, they watch us. If we have no compassion, they will have no compassion. If we are racist, they will grow to be racist. If we are cruel, they will be cruel. We have to stop living in a world where no-one but ourselves matter.
It makes me wonder if any of us know the real meaning of love anymore? We claim to be Christians, Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Atheists, Agnostics, and we claim to all live within a certain moral compass. But, yet, we unite primarily in anger and hatred, it’s the new mantra.
And it’s against everything we know to be true. In Romans 13 8-10, Jesus states that all the commandments are summed up in this one saying, “You shall love your neighbors as yourself.” There are no exceptions, there are no buts, there are no limits to this command. Yet, hatred, not love, abounds.
Just look at the news, look at the way children have learned to treat other children, the way neighbors treat other neighbors, the way adults treat each other on the roads, in stores, in schools and in public in general! And look at the way we reacted to the Ray Rice debacle.
Ray Rice. One day he’s beloved and the next he’s described as the “most hated man in the world”. Really? More hated than Kermit Gosnell? More hated than the KKK? More hated than the dad who killed all 5 of his kids? Really?
Ray Rice. He hit his wife, he knocked her out … he’s damn lucky he didn’t kill her. HIs actions are despicable, cowardly and disgustingly violent. I have 5 daughters, this is repulsive. I’ve seen the video and it shows without a shadow of a doubt how horribly depraved domestic abuse is, but what happened in the aftermath was equally as depraved.
Thousands and thousands took to Twitter and Facebook and the comments sections and demanded justice, revenge. They fought so hard that the Ravens cut Rice, arguably their best player, from the team. They fought so hard and spewed such venom that the NFL suspended him indefinitely. Victory! Success! Complete destruction of a man.
I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. A group of people united by hate, united by righteousness and judgment forced humiliation, embarrassment and ultimately cost another human being his job, his livelihood.
And why is domestic violence worse than having an affair? Or worse than a spouse with a drug addiction. Aren’t we told that emotional abuse, words and non-violent actions, has equal if not more of an affect on it’s victims than physical violence? I’ve read that emotional bullying, which includes teasing, talking badly about people behind their backs, spreading rumors and exclusion from groups, to name a few, is worse than physical bullying. Is Ray Rice now a victim of emotional abuse? Yes. Is his wife? Yes. Are you a perpetrator of this emotional bullying?
I gotta ask how we all became so perfect, our sins not as grave as another’s, that we can sit in judgement over another person. But not only that, not only judgement, but that we can demand justice and revenge on behalf of a “victim” who isn’t even calling for it herself. I know, I know, women in domestic violence situations stay with their man, despite the danger, time after time.
But, I now have to ask this question … when did women become victims? I thought we were equals. We can go to war, we can join the police force, we can do everything a man can do and better, right? So why now, when a woman is saying back the heck off her husband (if you haven’t read Janay Rice’s post regarding her husband’s demise you should) is she delicate and mislead. She’s now the personification of a victim? Why can’t she be a strong woman standing behind her man who screwed up huge? Why can’t we rally behind her? Why can’t we elevate her in strength and compassion and understanding. Why can’t we help her and her family?
Obviously we could be unstoppable. If we can get the Ravens to dump one of their best players, there’s no telling what we could do! In fact, why not unite to fight hunger? To find homes for children in Foster Care? To get kids off the streets? Why not unite to end abortion, suicide and the death penalty? How bout fighting poverty? Where’s the public outcry over Benghazi or James Foley? There’s only Silence. It’s sickening, really. Is anger our only motivator these days?
If so, why did we not rally to make something good come of something so awful? I mean seriously, if we truly wanted to make a difference, why not rally for education and counseling and awareness? Why not rally for positivity? Can you imagine what voice Ray Rice could have had in influencing younger men to take a different road? He could have been the spokesman for change, for counseling, for bettering oneself!
The NFL, ESPN, Domestic Abuse Organizations, churches, etc all missed a golden opportunity to educate and bring the issue to the forefront, but all they managed to do was to teach young men, if you’re going to knock out your wife you better do it behind closed doors. Don’t be stupid enough to get caught on tape! What of the women who continue to live in fear? How has Ray Rice’s destruction helped them? Will their husband’s suddenly identify with Rice and think, I need help? Like, if someone like Rice rose above this in the public eye, surely I can do so in the privacy of a therapist or priests or ministers office, right? What a lost opportunity to really bring domestic abuse to the forefront of conversation!
I don’t know what else he could have done, really. Rice apologized, said he wanted to own his actions, said he was in counseling and it was helping. He said he was taking steps to improve himself, his wife even apologized for her role … and people, she had a role!! She hit him as well. Of course it doesn’t justify his actions, but she had a role and she recognized that and apologized for it, and was raked through the coals for it.
But it’s simply not enough. The apology wasn’t accepted. The lynch mob wanted blood.
Admittedly I know nothing about Domestic Abuse. My parents never hit each other and Dan’s parents raised him to be a respectful man. But I’ve done some reading and from everything I’ve read, Domestic Abuse is cyclical. You have to break the cycle to break its hold on families. And it’s not just women who are victims … in fact, 1 in 7 men report intimate partner violence only slightly below the 1 in 4 women.
Today the extra-marital affairs, domestic abuse and substance abuse, etc of the rich and famous is broadcast from continent to continent.
We trash talk Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Mylie Cyrus and so many others…entire magazines are dedicated to trashing celebrities. And we buy them! We buy magazines that exist solely to spread rumours and gossip about the rich and famous. We eat it up, can’t get enough! What’s wrong with us?
And for you and me and all those who are not so rich or so famous, we feel the need to share everything from what we had for lunch to where we are standing at any given moment. Facebook has become a public diary of sorts. We announce what should be private events to the whole world. We take people who we believe have wronged us to task in public, whether that person is across the room or across the country. And we are always vindicated, our friends always come to our side with praise, if they have a differing opinion, we unfriend them.
But, public humiliation isn’t righteous. It’s not what we are called to do. We are specifically told to take that person aside and try to impress upon them how they hurt us. Not for revenge, not for them to validate our feelings, but rather for them to repent for the sake of their salvation. (Mt 18 15-20)
We are called to love and love unconditionally. We aren’t told to just love our friends and the people who are nice to us, you know? Jesus specifically says Love Your Enemies. And that is hard as hell, I know. I’m one who struggles with this as I’m not terribly fond of most people. I find it hard to love people who have treated me or my family poorly. I find it So Hard. But I’m working on it. So you know, I fail most days.
But on this day, on the 13th anniversary of Sept 11, I’m trying to remember how we all stepped outside of ourselves and united as Americans, strangers were helping strangers, not just in New York, but across the country as well. We put aside our differences and truly loved each other. From the horror rose true valiance, from the terror rose true strength. Beauty poured from our souls, we couldn’t pray enough, we couldn’t help enough, we simply couldn’t DO enough.
This was who we really are. This was us, Americans, united in love. Don’t lose sight of who you really are. Today make a pact to try to love someone who is truly undeserving of your love. Try to help someone who is truly undeserving of your help. Be love.
Much love and peace to you on this somber day and always!