Let It Begin With Me

Martin Luther King, 1964

Everyone has the stereotype down – no matter what that is. What comes to mind when you hear the following words?

  • Conservative
  • Liberal
  • Black
  • White
  • Asian
  • Latino
  • Evangelical
  • Muslim
  • Catholic

I dare to say that before the word is even finished, we have built our preconceived notions of what each represents. When that happens, we stop hearing and listening to the other.  It has sometimes become so subliminal that we don’t even realize what we are doing!  People jump to all kinds of conclusions when they hear or see something that is different from what they are comfortable with, believe in, have grown up in.  Respecting another doesn’t mean we have to agree with everything the other stands for, nor does it mean that we can or should change our opinions or beliefs.  It does mean we will agree we have a right to our opinions, our beliefs.  What if we made up our minds to build a bridge, to listen to our neighbors, our community, etc. – to actually communicate and attempt to learn from and about each other? What if we consciously stopped the unconscious hate?

That, to me, would be the ultimate in human kindness. Let it begin with me.

“Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

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