Love is the answer to fear
Last night started out as a normal night, with a phone call to my boyfriend. We have a long distance relationship, while I reside in the Lone Star State, he lives in New Mexico.
However, our discussion last night was beyond the average couple’s phone conversation of asking each other how our days were and saying how much we missed each other. There was a strain in his voice that let me know something was bothering him.
He explained that he had gone to dinner earlier that evening at a friend’s house and that there were other guests at the dinner that he had never met before. He went on to further say that the guest’s conversations at the dinner were pretty heated with thoughts and opinions on war, religion, and politics. The conversations focused on an area in the world that has a lot of media attention right now, the Middle East.
This happens to have a direct impact on my boyfriend as his heritage is Afghani Persian. He was born in Afghanistan and his family legally immigrated to the United States when he was six months old. He vocalized that one couple that evening told him that he was the problem in the world today because of his Persian heritage and the religion he was raised with: Islam. Even though his views are now Agnostic, the guests were still not comfortable with his background and religion while growing up. According to this man and his wife, my boyfriend was the reason that there was no peace in the world today.
I dare to ask, who choses their heritage or religion they are born into? Did you? Did I? My heritage stems from many cultures all over northern Europe. But did I choose that background? Did I request to be born into a home with a Christian faith that I still practice today? The answer is no. While I am proud of my heritage, I did not get to make a request before I was born to fall into the “check the white box” category on the ethnic origin forms.
How on earth could that couple claim that my boyfriend is the problem in the world today? The real problem is people who have mindsets just like that couple. The people that see plenty of humans, but no humanity. The people who see differences, but no similarities. The people who see skin color, but no human being. The people who would rather judge instead of practice compassion. The people who are prejudiced instead of open minded. These are the problems of the world today.
And for those of us who are Christians, did Christ not call us to love one another? He did not go on to say to love one another as long as they are not Muslim, refugees, or homeless… Christ simply commanded us to love one another. In this world of ours today, we sure could use some more Christ like love. Agape love.
The media often choses to focus on the evil in today’s society. No wonder why the word "news" has come to be associated with the word "bad". When was the last time you turned on the news and saw something positive? The more the media focuses on the evil in the world, the harder it is for people to act out of love instead of fear.
Following the recent Paris attacks, I noticed on social media that many people posted that they hoped Syrian refuges would not be brought to America. We can't let them into the country, they'll bomb everything! The Muslims want to kill us all! Sad, in fact. If we are to say that ISIS represents all Muslims, then are we to say that the KKK represents all Christians or that Nazi Germany represented all Germans? We cannot judge a whole based on the actions of a few.
Yes, we should take precautions such as screening Syrian refugees that could possibly come into the U.S. to protect ourselves from terroristic activity. However, if we are to close off our borders completely, are we not acting out of fear? And Is that not what the terrorists want? To strike fear into us?
My call to action is: love. Agape love. Christ like love. To open our hearts to each other as members of humanity.
The answer to terrorism is not to round up all Muslims and Middle Easterners and put them into camps across the U.S. The answer is not to protest at mosques against the Islamization of America. The answer is not to rip a woman's burqa off her head. Fear cannot be overcome with more fear. Fear can only be conquered with love.
Just as Abraham Lincoln famously said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand". Let's focus on our similarities instead of our differences. Let's rip down the walls that we have built up in this country and this world and see each other for who we really are: members of humanity. Let's abandon our prejudices and hate. Let's love each other as Christ loves us. Let's stand together before we completely fall apart.