February 1

Today's quotation:

We are all citizens of one world, we are all of one blood.  To hate people because they were born in another country, because they speak a different language, or because they take a different view on this subject or that, is a great folly.  Desist, I implore you, for we are all equally human. . . .  Let us have but one end in view:  the welfare of humanity.

Johann Amos Comenius

Today's Meditation:

I sometimes wonder what this world would be like if we could divert all the energy that people spend hating each other, to loving each other instead.  What if we didn't spend our time arguing about how wrong or how different other people are, and instead spent that time working on problems that face all people.  What if we no longer spent our time and energy looking at differences and instead spent that time and energy looking at how we can help each other to be the best people we can be, no matter what our race or ethnic or geographical background?

We all come from the same source.  Period.  All of us.  I can't define that source or draw a picture of it, but I know that we all have the same origins, and we all share a common bond of humanity here on this planet.  Our goal should be to do all that we can to make sure that there's enough fairness and love and compassion to go around--not trying to improve our own lots by bringing other people down.  My blood can be used in the body of any other human being of the same blood type--that should be enough to convince me that any differences that I see are simply superficial, not deep differences that justify separation.

We live in communities, and the only way to truly strengthen community is through acceptance of the people in it.  The things that don't matter--skin color, national origin, language, etc.--really shouldn't enter into the equation as to whether or not certain people should be seen as part of the community or not.

When we show bias and prejudice, we really are hurting ourselves, not the people we don't like.  We're weakening our own communities, and we're denying ourselves the influence and input of people who might have learned many different lessons than those that we've learned, in many different ways.  Once we accept others, we can learn from them and benefit from their presence, and our communities can grow stronger, helping all of us.

Questions to consider:

Why is it so easy to think that someone from somewhere else has things wrong compared to us?

How do our communities suffer when we practice exclusion instead of inclusion?

What might we be afraid of if we're not willing to accept others just as they are?

For further thought:

One exemplary act may affect one life, or even millions of lives.  All those who set standards for themselves, who strengthen the bonds of community, who do their work creditably and accept individual responsibility, are building the common future.

John W. Gardner

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