Kindness Fridays

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I’m really going in a different direction with this week’s post, so bear with me.

A person can’t live in this world without being personally offended or attacked for any number of reasons, whether founded or unfounded, countless times during the course of his life.

In this world, there exists those whose modus operandi is to criticize others, bring others down, make fun of them, even bully them. The person with that MO may have any number of “reasons” why he or she acts that way, but none of those reasons are justified, plain and simple.

What do we do when someone acts that way toward us? I know how we feel, we feel hurt and angry; we feel we must be on the defensive and maybe we even want to dish out the same pain, or worse, than what was inflicted on us. A defensive action, however, turns us into someone no better than the person who lashed out at us; we join their ranks.

When an unkindness is said or done to us, the higher road is to not respond in kind. By that I mean maybe it’s better we don’t go on the defensive, we don’t fight fire with fire. Oh, let me tell you, the base part of our character wants to let loose with our own brand of meanness, but each and every one of us has the ability to choose a contrary response. Each. And. Every. One. Of. Us.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you lavish the offender with peace, love, and happiness – there are very few of us who could pull that off – but what I am saying is that we can choose to stay silent. We can walk away – both figuratively and physically – and leave that person to wallow in the slime they just created.

I learned long ago, that if someone yells at me and I choose not to yell back, their fire goes out. If I don’t feed their anger, it has nowhere to go but down. Quite frankly, my decision to walk away hurts that person far worse than any words I could ever spew back. I guess sometimes you just have to kill them with kindness.

Just. Walk. Away.

Theological bullying

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Forced faith is not faith | Opinion | The Seattle Times.  The syndicated columnist, Leonard Pitts Jr., has proven yet again how fabulously he writes.  His writing can only attain that quality, however, if what he writes comes from a sense of justice, compassion, and truth.  Therefore, hands down – his writing is fabulous.

The title for this blog piece comes from Mr. Pitts’ article where he quotes Martin Luther King’s definition of faith as being, “taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”  The columnist says that given what the Sudanese Parliament has done by imposing the death penalty on one of its citizens who wouldn’t disavow her faith, “faith has less to do with hope and assurance and the courage to take steps in the dark, than with justifying just this kind of theological bullying.”

This story centers around choosing one religion over another.  My writing on this story does not pit Christianity against Islam, (or vice versa) rather, it’s a story showing a conflict between two religions that very well might end horrifically.   It’s a dramatic story because the “guilty” party, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a mother of two who married a Christian man, will receive 100 lashes and then she will be killed after her youngest child has been weaned – nothing short of outrageous and barbaric.

Can you require/force someone to have faith?

Can you require/force someone to love you?

Mr. Pitts asks:

Can faith ever truly be faith if it is imposed by force of law or threat of violence?  Is faith faith if it is not freely chosen?  If someone swore at gunpoint that she loved you, would you believe her?

Faith can move mountains; religion can't.
Faith can move mountains; religion can’t. (Painting by artist, Mary Riesche)

The Sudanese Parliament has no concept of what faith is.  Again, I’m not talking about Islam in general, I’m talking about the actions of the Sudanese Parliament.  Its members are simply trying to force this 27-year old woman to leave her Christian religion and follow their religion, Islam.  They are proving that they are a bunch of fearful wimps – so afraid are they of any religion that differs from theirs.  But we all know the truth: the strongest person represented in this travesty is Meriam Yehya Ibrahim.  She’s not holding on to her religion, she’s holding on to her faith.

Bullies are weaklings in disguise whose only weapon is to assert a strength they will never have.