Friday, February 3, 2017

I Pity The Fool

Honestly, whenever I discover or witness acts of discrimination against any group, my first response is anger. I want to somehow take your mean-spirited comments, your racist remarks, your homophobic slurs, your sexist stereotypes, your body shaming or your ignorant judgmental attitude and cram it back down your throat. I had to fight such a compulsion this very day, but I have moved on from my first response to a slightly kinder one… I pity you.

When I pause and really think about it, I genuinely feel sorry for you and your twisted, bitter existence. It’s truly sad that you think it takes putting others down to make you feel better. Let me ask, though…how is that working out for you? Are you actually any happier from mocking someone you consider somehow "less" than you? I suspect this is not the case because that is not how self-loathing is resolved.

Whether you are a believer in Jesus Christ or not, perhaps you know he said to  "Love your neighbor as yourself." I am afraid you are doing exactly that. You actually love your neighbor as little as you love yourself. How else can I explain the hatred flowing from your miserable heart other than deep down you despise your own life on some level? Only a wretched soul could find amusement in the suffering or degradation of others.

It is a tragic situation indeed if you are surrounded only by people that look like you, act like you and think like you. People are naturally drawn to those with whom we have things in common, but there is great truth to the adage “variety is the spice of life.” Some of my fondest memories have come from learning about and experiencing different cultures. My life is enriched by people who are very different from me.

That said, I have also found as I traveled around the world that underneath the superficial and artificial barriers such as skin color, nationality, language and so on that we are all much more similar than not. For example, I had the unexpected delight to discover the African man who ran the camp where I stayed in the middle of the Kenyan savanna was a huge Dolly Parton fan. Who would have thought?

One of the most important things for nearly every human being I have ever met is to know love. Not just the romantic kind, but affection, appreciation and acceptance of who they are. Sometimes to know love, you must first show love. Yeah, it can hurt sometimes, but I’ll take that kind of misery any day over the other kind.  I believe you will find it is a much surer path to joy than the one you are on now.

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