I’ve read several times, “The only thing that will stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun.” I’ve also been told, “If you protest our government’s use of drones, you’re helping the bad guys.” Really? Maybe the “bad guys” think they’re the “good guys.” And maybe we’re not so “good” as we think.
Yes, it’s all relative. “They” may be worse than we are. “We” may think that if people would adopt our values and do things our way the world would be a much better place. Religious groups are especially prone to this way of thinking.
But this view, at best, is partial. At worst, it promotes arrogance, divisiveness, exclusion, prejudice, discrimination, and hate.
I can stand up and speak out for what I believe without maligning another person. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.”
I keep a picture of my mother, Ruth, on my altar, along with other precious reminders of the Love that has sustained me through life. This morning I re-read one of her favorite prayers from Unity, “Morning Prayer,” by Ella Syfers Schenck:
Lord, in the quiet of this morning hour
I come to Thee for peace, for wisdom, power
To view the world today through love-filled eyes;
Be patient, understanding, gentle, wise:
To see beyond what seems to be, and know
Thy children as Thou knowest them; and so
Naught but the good in anyone behold;
Make deaf my ears to slander that is told;
Silence my tongue to aught that is unkind;
Let only thoughts that bless dwell in my mind.
Let me so kindly be, so full of cheer,
That all I meet may feel Thy presence near.
O clothe me in Thy beauty, this I pray,
Let me reveal Thee, Lord, through all the day.
I am grateful that my mother taught me not to judge or hate, but to see the good in everyone. Yes, everyone. She used to say, “We’re all the same on the inside.” The dividing line between “good” and “bad” is within me.