Violent reactions to problems have been occurring among human beings for centuries. Racism, forced displacement, tribal prejudice, and many other insults to humanity have all-too-often been met by violence, and that violence has often been an overreaction to the transgression that was committed — and often that transgression has been based on sheer prejudice and no tangible reality.
My friends, we need a new perspective on violence: It is not enough to address terrorism separately, or racism separately, or any other major insult to humanity; we must not elevate one kind of insult over another, but rather look at the the whole picture of human beings fighting each other as part of a globally divisive attitude that is rooted deep in the human psyche, and must be brought to consciousness and healed. For no single act of violence is more deserving of attention than another. And violence always begins with thoughts and words, then progresses into action. But even though a violent thought or word may not turn to deed, it is still a form of violence.
Why do human beings tend to develop deep-seated resentments and hold onto them for long periods of time, even for generations? Why do human beings tend to form bunches, exclusive groups, insular tribes, and so forth? All of this stems from having lost one’s focus on God and on the Light, on the fundamental principles of universal love — the most important of which is to love one’s neighbor as oneself. It is an ancient instinct, of course, to form barriers, from the times when early man had to gather in groups to hunt and protect themselves from dangers. But from the point at which one group started to attack another, initially to conquer territory or take over hunting grounds, the seeds of superiority, prejudice and bigotry were born. Added to this were the often incendiary words of many religious leaders who implanted the evil thoughts of spiritual and racial superiority — and its associated aggression toward those who are different from oneself. But how fundamentally absurd is this! Are we not all God’s children, even in the most difficult times?
The world is made up of billions of people of different cultures. Not only is there a multitude of races, tribes, religions and political systems, but there is also a great variety of climates — which involves different methods of agriculture, different vegetation, different amounts of water available, different landscapes, different concepts of land ownership, and so forth. This results in the natural variety of people that God and nature gave us on Earth — not only because of how one type of human being evolved in his or her particular geographical area, but because of the enriching variety of cultures that ensued. To quote the talking car KITT from an episode of the television show Knight Rider:
“I don’t understand borders. Why do people erect artificial borders? Are they not all just people?”
What are the roots of hate? Violence, especially acts of violence committed among human beings out of resentment, greed, or a sense of superiority, is rooted in spiritual darkness. Any time one begins to make false assumptions about other human beings based upon one’s limited world view, resentment and hatred are not far behind, and violence often ensues. And any time one covets what belongs to others and wishes to steal it, violent actions are often not far behind. As spiritual beings, it is our responsibility to recognize when we are being influenced by the Light or by Darkness; in other words, by a sense of benevolent inspiration without compulsion, or by a sense of coercion — whether inwardly or outwardly directed — to harm others or even ourselves. And there are several elements of hate: Leading up to this extreme negative feeling are: 1) prolonged anger; 2) prolonged resentment; 3) deep-seated prejudice and bigotry, usually originating with one’s family, especially from unhappy childhood experiences such as parental negligence, as well as the limited views of one’s community or tribe; 4) entrenched greed and an exaggerated sense of entitlement; and 5) a sense of insecurity that leads to over-constricting one’s perspective on life.
Humanity has a long way to go before such attitudes disappear, but with the leadership of far-sighted human beings under the leadership of God, we will all make progress away from violence in any form and toward genuine peace — inner peace as well as peace throughout the world.
Let us pray for the re-education of those who have taken up the mantle of violence, especially among the children of the world — as children learn violence from their elders and peers. Let us pray for wise leadership in every community on Earth, that the roots of violence may no longer have a chance to grow. Let us pray that our future literature, music, films, plays, and visual art may inspire humanity toward greater love, tolerance, compassion and forgiveness. Let us pray that all humanity may one day learn that each of us is responsible for one’s own deeds and words, and that consequences will ensue in future lifetimes if transgressions are not resolved and forgiven in the present. Most of all, let us pray that all humanity may know that we are all equally loved by God, the Divine One for all, and that there is a spark of God in our innermost beings — the spark that ignites our consciousness of love, tolerance, compassion, forgiveness and peace.
May we all walk the path of the Light, now and forever!
Rev. Roger Davidson