Once again, our country is challenged to counteract divisiveness with love, peace and unity. In this season, we have the opportunity to reaffirm our country’s creed of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all who live here.
America experienced an inordinate amount of rancor, dividing along political, racial, economic, and gender lines in the post-election days leading up to Thanksgiving. Some of those feelings were softened, as people sat around the Thanksgiving table and recounted their many blessings. Hopefully, we can continue to soften as we reflect upon the meaning of our holiday season with peace on earth, good will toward all. .
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
We are fortunate to reside in a land where we are guaranteed the right to freedom of speech. But we are also a civilized nation, and our expression of this right should reflect our civility, especially in areas of disagreement.
Free will is both a blessing and a curse, so there will always be differences of opinion. Dissension is often grounded in self-interest, but there is a difference between enlightened self interest and the selfishness that dishonors the rights of others. How nice it would be if we could see the world from our opponent’s viewpoint, glean a modicum of understanding, and reach a state of good will, replacing hatred born of fear with consensus born of understanding.
One way I can approach this season, in a spirit of love and inclusion, is to place myself in the minds and hearts of those whose beliefs are different or even opposite of mine. I can attempt to see the world from their perspective. I can realize that when they look at me, my viewpoint may be strange and alien. When I disagree, it will be with respect; hatred has no place in the equation. I don’t pretend it’s always easy, but with empathy and compassion, I shall strive to find common ground where we can move forward together for the benefit of all.
At our highest level, there is no us versus them; there is only us, one human family. In this worldwide human family, we are created with differences. But at the same time, we are urged to love one another in the spirit of peace on earth, good will toward all.
As we near the end of 2016, I invite you to join me in rededicating ourselves to achieve love, peace and unity in this holy season.