It’s not some kind of revelation. The kind that people will write down in a book, start a religion around, and then totally flip so they can kill whoever they want and feel okay about it. It’s really just restating something you already know, more than likely, and if you don’t, something you should learn pretty darn quick.
Nearly every religion shares one common theme: there’s a battle going on in the world, good vs. evil, and it never seems to end. Looking around ourselves, we see it all the time. Race, police brutality, class warfare, all of it points to the fact there are some people who do bad, some who do good, and some who seem to have no idea what the difference might be. But I think it is simpler than that. A friend and I were talking this week, and I think the real battle is between fear and love.
All that is ‘bad’ comes from fear. Sound too simple? Shame=fear of what others think. Jealousy=fear of losing something (usually that wasn’t yours to possess in the first place). Hate =fear of something different. Greed=fear of someday not having enough. Envy=fear that someone else will have something more, or better than what you have. Rage=fear your voice will not be heard unless you speak louder, harsher than those opposed to you. Ah, the list could go on. But think for just a moment about almost anything you would call bad, or your belief might classify as a sin. Is there some kind of fear at the root of it?
All that is ‘good’ comes from love. Kindness. Compassion. Sympathy. Empathy. Selflessness. Charity. All of these stem from love. It’s hard to fault any one of them. Living any one of this list in an extreme way would only result in the praise of almost anyone. You can name those past and present who strive to live this way. For the most part they are respected, honored, and even nearly worshipped. Except by those who fear them.
None of us are the ‘good’ guys. Here’s the shitty news: not one of us is the good guys. Not one of us is kind, compassionate, and encouraging all the time. If you think you are, ask your kids, your spouse, or if you don’t have those, a close friend. If you don’t have any of those either, this might be the reason. There are those who strive to be good, and strive to do all those right things. But there is one enemy to all of them, and it’s you.
Don’t be afraid. Want to be a better person? Kinder, gentler, and doing fewer things that are bad? Stop being afraid. Much of what you fear doesn’t even matter, or won’t five years from now.
It’s not a sermon. It’s not just for writers. It just may help you if you are down this holiday season, or if listening to the news you wonder where all the hate is coming from. There are just a lot of people out there who live in fear. Don’t be one of them.