In even a quick scan of history we see persecutions and all manner of violence against outsiders, those unlike us, the "others". No time, no culture that I know of has been exempt from this pattern.
Sometimes those called "other," and therefore subject to attack, don't seem to really be "other" to the onlooker. In my lifetime it might be the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland (both supposedly Christian), the southern whites and blacks (both southerners and supposedly Christian), the Middle East constant crisis (peoples with the same roots), our seemingly endless political disputes and attacks (Americans vehemently against each other, often involving lies and even violence), and others.
Historically there have been millions of strife-laden years caused by somebody fighting somebody else because they were different. Of course, there are additional causes, such as greed, power, fear, mental illness, etc. But I think it is rare to see a group defined as "us" to be attacked.
This week our hearts are heavy laden for New Zealand. Immigrants, legal immigrants, were slaughtered by a madman who labeled them as invaders, who wanted to forment more division here in America and who admired a totalitarian regime. His "other" label in his mind made it okay to his thinking to be a mass murderer.
I think we need to address this "other" mindset. Spiritually speaking there is no such thing as "other." As I understand it, we have the same Ground of Being, offspring of one God, brothers and sisters all. We can learn to listen to, discuss and even accept various points of view, various interpretations of this or that, without violence, without going nuts. What if we just said that everyone is us, not "other"?
As long as no hatred, no violence, no ugliness are involved, let others see things from different vantage points without having a temper tantrum.
Lord, lead us to embrace one another with love. Help us to realize we all come from the same Source. Help us to remember that for each one of us, our task is to learn to love. Help us to remember that we are responsible for our own lives, our own thoughts, our own actions. Lead us to be the best possible version of ourselves. Today I drop the idea of "other." I welcome my family, the human family, into my heart.
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