The world is not a better or safer place because Osama bin Laden is gone from it. Nothing has changed. Violence has created violence, which has created violence, in an endless chain whose origin is insignificant. What matters is what we do now. That is always what matters. Shall we hate those who hate us or shall we love them? If we hate those who hate, what is the difference between us and them? Shall we love only those who deserve it? Who look like us? Who believe like us? If we love those who, like us, are born and will die; who, like us, cry when they are frightened; who, like us, lash out in pain when they feel powerless, who would we not love?
From the distorted perceptions of fear, forgiving the unforgivable is unforgivable. The choice between love and fear is always with us. Often we choose fear, but we do not need to. Unchallenged fear of the pain of powerlessness, of the pain of humiliation, of the pain of loss moves us forward and we create more violence and the chain grows. Forgiveness does not mean freeing a killer or ignoring a bully. It means putting down the burden of your hate and relieving yourself of the pain it creates in you. Bin Laden is dead but you are alive. Who is suffering from the pain of your hatred for him now? How long will you continue? Who else are you not forgiving? Out of the past fear encircles us, emerges into the present, and from there grows into the future where our children will reflect our own fear back to us in the violence that they will do when they encounter the unforgivable. But they do not need to. They could reflect back to us a world of love if we are willing to show them a world of love now.
What would that world look like? How would it perceive Osama bin Laden? Would it rejoice at his death? Would a world of love meet fear with fear or would it replace fear with love? How much courage would it take you to do that?
- Published: May 6, 2011
- Filed in: Blog