Kindness can change the world
It has been just over 10 years since the horrific shooting in Tucson that took the lives of six people and wounded 13 others, including then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Since then, much has been said about the need for civility and kindness. Certainly, we still have much room for improvement. Why is it that something that is universally desired so difficult to obtain?
Civility and kindness will not be achieved by striving to force conformity of thought on how the country ought to be governed, or which religion is correct, or the best way to solve difficult cultural problems. We should realize that people can disagree without hatred.
The way to achieve civility is to be kind to everyone, including those who think differently than we do. We can be humble enough to listen to others without argument. We can agree to disagree. We don’t need to raise our voices. We don’t need to use vitriol, rage or expletives. We shouldn’t demean, shame, deride, or degrade others.
Civility and kindness will be obtained when we, individually and collectively, follow the Golden Rule. Every major religion has some form of this teaching: to treat others how we would like to be treated. Among other places in the Old Testament, it is found in Leviticus 18:18: “Thou shalt not avenge nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Jesus Christ quoted it in his Sermon on the Mount: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them.” In the hadith, the teachings of Muhammad, we read: “As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, don’t do to them.” The implied part of these sayings is that regardless of who they are, what they think, or how they behave, no one wants to be bullied, castigated, demeaned, or sworn at.
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