I recently watched an interview with his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. I've always enjoyed listening to what he has to say, as he is always so mindful of how his words will impact others.
During the interview I watched, the interviewer asked the Dalai Lama why he has never condemned the practice of self mutilation some Tibetan monks perform in response to the Chinese occupation. He paused for a moment. He stated first that he does not support any taking of human life, including one's own. However, he cannot condemn the acts as Anti Buddhist, because when he thinks about this issue, he can't help but remember the families who lost a loved one. If he condemns their actions, he hurts the families even more. He does not want to cause more pain. He wants to foster healing. So, he remains silent on the issue and prays for all.
When I heard this, I remembered a suggestion I heard a long time ago about how to deal with problems of any kind. You stop, and quietly ask yourself, "How can I be kind?".
When you encounter a problem, especially a complex one, it does no one any good to try and win or take revenge - if you've been wronged. It does not necessarily help anyone to be right. You may win the argument, but in the process what did you loose?
It helps everyone to try and be kind. This is what Christ also taught. We are all so fortunate to have so many blessings in our life. Most of us do not have to consider issues like the Dalai Lama does. However, we can all do simple acts that radiate kindness. Reach out to the disenfranchised. Be kind to your neighbor. Listen to others, even if their viewpoint differs from your own. Smile at a stranger. You do not have to agree. You do not have to support everyone. You don't even have to have a conversation. But I personally believe that when you make an effort to be kind to everyone, the person you help the most is yourself.
I think I like how the Bible says it best in Colossians 3:12 "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
Yours In Christ,
Karen Rodgers, Vestryperson