WARNING: What I am about to say might unsettle you.
Fear is a dangerous thing.
As a modern society, we feared the African, therefore we enslaved him, raped his women, slaughtered his children, and occupied his lands. We feared the Arab, so we violated his sovereignty, decimated his homestead with bombs, raped his women, and slaughtered his children [at times under the disguise of patriotism or duty]. We feared the Amerindian, therefore we (again) enslaved him, raped his women, slaughtered his children, and occupied his lands [recording it in our history books as Manifest Destiny].
We did all of these things to those we feared, but it begs the question:
What did we have to fear?
As history progressed, we discovered new things; Europe eventually returned, after thousands of years, to the ancestral motherland of Africa. We discovered a people with darker skin, different gods, and different cultures. It is these things that differentiated us, yet we all remained of the same human race. We did not know what these people were about, so the curse of fear was allowed to reign over us.
The same happened with the Arab; despite our dealings with the Arab, the Persian, the Indian, and the East Asian over thousands of years, a sudden infection of ignorance wiped our memories of them being our equal, thus creating another void which fear happily filled. Global war broke out [twice]. Millions perished. Many more will too.
The East Asian, to his credit, had an advanced-enough civilization to where a lack of dependency on our economic accomplishments kept them strong, but for many of the others (save, perhaps, the Persians, who were the only forces that kept the Romans from expanding further into Alexander’s former empire), that wasn’t the case.
Due to the lands they occupied and the lives they lived, there wasn’t a sort of harshness that necessitated the constant need to develop more dangerous weapons than the ones that preceded it. Fear then took up those arms and rampaged throughout Africa, the Americas, and eventually Canaan and the Arabian lands.
Today, though the disastrous effects of fear continues to ravage the African, Arab, and Amerindian peoples, it already has its eyes set on targets you may already know:
- the impoverished;
- the faithless;
- refugees; and
- new concepts on life and liberty.
Should we be surprised? What has history taught us, those that have remembered the texts of the past? It is natural to react to change with fear, and combined with ignorance, creates a deadly result within modern society. So how do we conquer this fear? How do we combat this disease that man has continued to spread throughout the world? The answer is simpler than a 1,000-page legislative agenda.
Uthando (Zulu). L’amour (French). Aroha (Maori). Renmen (Haitian Creole). El amor (Spanish). O amor (Portuguese). Kjærlighet (Norwegian). Chikondi (Chichewa). Liefdegod (Dutch). Cinta (Malay). Dragoste (Romanian). Amore (Italian).
But what is love? How can we describe it? I asked myself this, and I was reminded of the writings of a well-educated tentmaker and Hebrew Pharisee named Sha’ul Paulos of Tarseus [in what is now modern-day Syria]. In a letter to an Early Christian congregation situated in Rome, Sha’ul wrote the following:
“Love does no harm to a neighbor.”
— Romans 13:10a [New King James Version]
Basically, if what you are doing (whether directly or indirectly) is harmful to your neighbor, it is not an act of love. This isn’t a foreign concept. The figure that inspired him to write these words, the one called [in Hebrew] Yeshua ben HaElohim [widely recognized by his Koine Greek name Iesous Christós, or Jesus Christ in modern English], the itinerant Galilean [Israelite] rabbi that founded the Christian sect of Judaism after his resurrection [and is believed to be the Messiah of Israelite prophecy], was the forerunner of this Love Doctrine, teaching the following:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
— Mark 12:43-45 [NKJV]
This was an echo of words handed down from Yahweh to the Israelite Moshe as he led his people out of Khemet [known by the Greeks as Egypt]. Naturally, these echoed concepts were recorded many years earlier in the Pentateuch:
“You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
— Leviticus 19:18
But that is a commandment regarding love in action. Still, what is love? What about love can combat a tag team of fear and ignorance? Again, the teacher Sha’ul [known after his conversion as Paulos, or Paul in modern English], in a letter to followers in Corinth, Greece, wrote the following:
“Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish, is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
— 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
LOVE. It is a simple, yet profoundly complicated concept, but if it can effectively change the known world thousands of years ago, it can certainly do the same today. As a man loves his wife and children; as a woman loves her husband and children; and as a child loves his mother and father, brothers, and sisters, so can we human beings love one another. Love conquers all [even death], but that’s another story.
We can do away with this infection of hatred borne out of fear and ignorance; we can do away with the constant enslavement, rape, murder, and killing of our fellow man and woman, our brother and sister, father and mother, son and daughter. It can be done, and it can start TODAY.
I suppose then the question remains: Are you ready to love?