“…We wept and prayed” is a line from the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” that refers to collective community action and tends to be my first reaction in days of collective loss and trauma. There is a holiness in tears and prayers for insight and guidance. In times like these, where so many are hurt, saddened, and broken over the litany of evil we have seen in the past few weeks—from Ahmaud Arbery, a man hunted down and murdered from the back of a pickup truck, to literally watching life’s last breath being taken from George Floyd on national TV—I truly understand peoples’ reactions to what can only be defined as pure evil.
We should all be angry over the role that evil has taken in our lives and society. Evil is indeed our enemy and should be rebuked at every opportunity. But hating evil will not bring the change we desire, only love and respect will do that.
Of the world’s total population of 7.3 billion people, 77% or 5.6 billion profess to follow one of the six largest religions—all of which have the same basic tenants:
- Christianity: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”—Jesus, Matthew 7:12 NIV
- Islam: “None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”—The Prophet Muhammad, Hadith
- Judaism: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary.”—Hillel, Talmud, Sabbath 31a
- Hinduism: “This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others what would cause you pain if done to you.”—Mahabharata 5:1517
- Buddhism: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.”—The Buddha, Udanavarga 5.18
- Baha’i: “Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself.”—Baha’u’llah, Gleanings
Now, if you add in the 3.5 billion people per day who use Google which states its basic company tenant as, “Don’t be evil”, we seem to have consensus on our personal commitments to our behaviors. So where do we go from here? The road to healing will be long and require listening and respect, but how about we start with the simple tenant: Reject Evil, Love Everyone Always.