During election season especially, American news media is like a Gossip Girl meets American Idol marathon. Typically quiet viewers become reactive, violently opinionated, and hyper-engaged… Via social-media. I learned to correct a dangerous flaw of mine recently. I used to be cynical, judging fickle and uneducated voters, inconsistent and pandering politicians, and shallow, profit-driven news media.
It’s dangerous to entertain that mindset because our thoughts, our words have power.
No matter what you believe, the truth is nothing in life thrives in an environment that is negative, or “marked by features (as hostility, withdrawal, or pessimism) that hinder or oppose constructive treatment or development.”
How smart is it to think negatively, or curse what needs to grow and be blessed, so you and others can grow and be blessed by it? Not very.
Have you ever been in a room with someone who was angry at you? They don’t have to say a word. You know good and darn well they’re upset.
Our thoughts matter. Our disposition matters.
Yesterday Obama affirmed his support for gay marriage.
In a prime-time worthy twist, this called God into the spotlight, and unfortunately, shone particularly bright on those folks who don’t grasp who and what God really is.
God is not religion. God is certainly not politics. God is absolutely not judgmental. God is love, pure, unadulterated and all-powerful.
Yet. The outcry in His name?
It was soft in response to limiting voting rights; bigotry and slander on Capitol Hill; Trayvon Martin’s killing; Human trafficking.
The outcry was loud, judgmental, and hate-filled in response to marriage law interpretation; Zimmerman’s arrest; prisoner reform; immigration and citizenship reforms.
I can’t help but wonder what, exactly, are we doing?
For all its intricacies and wonders, life and love are very simple.
Life is good. Love accordingly. That is all.
Everyone and thing. Children and babies and puppies and kittens. Easy, right? With the same heart, also love every single person you think would never, ever deserve to be forgiven, much less loved, under any circumstances.
It seems like, when we don’t really believe life is good, or don’t believe we can act like it’s good and love each other, stuff gets ever-so complicated.
Then, to absolve ourselves of the guilt caused by disbelief in ourselves and in the truth of life… We start carving out a neat little cubby hole of exception. In there, it’s okay.
It’s all still okay in that little cubby hole of selective scripture, personal history, cultural difference and interpretation. There, it doesn’t matter that on some level, we’ve begun to hate life and others…
And because of it, ourselves too.
It seems like claiming to have faith in God at the same time you demonize certain people is a lot like… Claiming you love your spouse and abusing your children. Justify abuse however you want.
Something has gone terribly wrong.
Do you bristle when folks start throwing out scripture to make a point? I do. It’s because using scripture to argue is completely antithetical to its purpose and most of us, religious or not have great spirit-radar. We know what’s wrong even if we don’t know why.
Sacred texts are full of spiritual laws, most of which are punishable by death, and have no modern-day counterpart. But aren’t holy books more full of love? Examples of forgiveness, redemption, understanding, hope and faith?
Love, forgiveness, redemption, understanding, hope, and faith, eternal and unchanging.
This is why it’s such fun to be a supreme optimist. Optimism isn’t about pretending everything is rosy or perfect. It’s about fully grasping the reality that life is in its very essence, good. Optimism is about being a realist, grounded and understanding enough to see above the exceptions to the rule of life’s goodness.
Remain hopeful, and faithful, and love-filled. We all woke up this morning and that means we’re still on the road to betterment.