By: Judith Terrameo OSF
"Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet."
Every night when I watch the news, I encounter another act of violence. These acts seem to emanate from the hate that is so prevalent in our world today. As Maya Angelou notes above, hate has never solved any of the world's problems. It has only intensified them. Hate only fosters more hate.
Why so much hate? Is it perhaps that people do not like themselves and so cannot be happy with anything around them, therefore lashing out at everything that is different or which they cannot control. Or perhaps there is so much violence on TV, in the movies, in video games, on the news, in politics, that people's immediate response is violence − causing more and more hatred.
Can this hatred be alleviated? I believe that hate can be alleviated, but it takes time− time to go within ourselves and to honestly ponder our own prejudices and hatred and seriously look at how they impact life in a negative way; and, time to really get to know those who are different than ourselves and to meditate upon the gifts that these differences can offer us. Perhaps, these two things can disarm us of our own hatred/prejudice and open us to accept the differences around us.
Several months ago I was visiting a 36-year-old, African-American patient in the hospital. After a pleasant visit I asked her if I could offer a prayer. She told me that she was Muslim. I said that I could offer the prayer in the name of Allah. She said "no," because we both worship the same God. With that, I proceeded to offer a prayer. Following the prayer she held on to my hands, looked into my eyes and said, "Thank you, my sister." I need to say that her words disarmed me, but I responded in all sincerity with, "Thank you, my sister!"
I thought a lot about this sacred encounter. This young woman taught me a great lesson on this particular day: We all worship the same benevolent God who is Father of us all. If God is our Father, then we are truly sister and brother to all. Hence, I can only love this other as I love my biological sister − with full acceptance and unconditional love.
How can you alleviate the hatred/prejudice within your own life?