As Whoopi was passionately letting her beliefs known on The View regarding 4 black teenagers who had live-streamed the kidnapping and abuse of a challenged white student and ABC News interrupted with a Special Report that there had been a shooting at an airport in Florida…and one of my neighbors had chosen to move their fight outside of their home and fill my ears with obscenities…I thought I might want to take a look at the word DISCRIMINATION and share with you what I learned.
Why are we so thoughtless and uncaring toward each other? I think we got stuck.
The word DISCRIMINATION has more than one meaning and even Merriam-Webster says it, “has senses with neutral, positive and negative connotations.”
- a: the act of discriminating
b: the process by which two stimuli differing in some aspect are responding to differently
- the quality or power of finely distinguishing
- a: the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually
b: prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment discrimination
Throughout time, the word has grown from a simple act based on response, maturing to a power of distinguishing, and finally getting stuck at grouping people together and responding in a prejudiced way. There is value in backing up and looking clearly at “the quality or power of finely distinguishing.”
The definition of prejudice is negative and includes injury and damage based on preconceived judgement and/or opinion…Yet recognizing we have the power to distinguish can be a loving and community building exercise. I use the word art because art is a, “skill acquired by experience, study, or observation.”
The Art of DISCRIMINATION is a skill that is obtained by study and experience that helps us distinguish differences and options for our response toward stimuli. I would like to argue that DISCRIMINATION in the purest form is a good thing because if I have distinguished that someone is different from me (or similar to me) in a way that causes me harm in my mind, body or spirit, I can make a decision to go toward them, whether it is to practice the art of communication, intellect or debate…or flat out fighting and abuse, or I may choose to step away from them in order to remain peaceful and calm and loving. My walking away protects myself from their actions and mine and the consequences thereof.
By allowing ourselves to focus on people or actions that are unpleasant to ourselves, unless we are first responders who are very special souls who are trained to handle chaos for the good of the community, we encourage abuse of ourselves and others. Abuse is a corrupt practice or custom that may be improper, deceitful, condemning and/or physically maltreating toward ourselves and others. Even gossip without physical action is abusive toward ourselves because high blood pressure and anxiety can kill us.
Jesus told us to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
If you read the scriptures He not only tells us to love our neighbor as ourself, He shows how to do that. He says to not harvest all of our crops so that others who are poor can collect what is left, He tells us to help the injured, clothe the naked, give food and water to the hungry, take in those who are homeless. You can DISCRIMINATE how you want to interpret these opportunities, but let me suggest that you consider keeping enough of yourself available so that you can be kind.
Be kind in your thoughts, actions and beliefs. Forgive generously. Pray or send positive energy toward events that are lacking love and kindness.
I feel like our society has forgotten that actions carry consequences. I am sure my neighbor wasn’t trying to offend me with her words, she was angry at someone else, but she didn’t consider that anyone within earshot might be offended. I am sure that the shooter in Florida, who doesn’t know me, didn’t want to make me cry; they were trying to make a loud statement toward society, nothing personal toward me. The disgust I felt and the similarity in the sentiment of Whoopi I experienced was not the goal of these angry and confused kids. I have to let these things go. Abuses I have felt in the past, weren’t personal…all of us have been collateral damage to some extent and some point in time. I am learning to forgive and heal. I am choosing to learn to love, even those who hurt me whether it is personal or not.
Leaving part of yourself for others is a big thing; I understand. It takes you not giving too much of yourself to anything. I know this doesn’t sound like something you might hear at church or work or school or family events, but in reality, if you give all of yourself to something, something else will always flounder. Why is this true? Because God knew that we needed to rest, not just because He wanted us to have time to focus on Him but He knew our bodies could only handle so many “spoons” and that each of us could handle a different amount of spoons and sometimes the number would vary depending on health, age, knowledge or empowerment. Not giving too much of yourself requires you to DISCRIMINATE where you will place your energy. Remember if you are not building you might be tearing down…
You don’t have to choose to commit to any of this, but I do know if you learn and practice The Art of DISCRIMINATION in a way that doesn’t cause pain to yourself and to others, you will be happier, healthier, smarter and more powerful. Our community is part of you…so all of us will be happier, healthier, smarter and more powerful.
Let’s get UN-STUCK!
Feel free to leave your comments below!
My name is Summer. That is how you can call me. I hope that I am a blessing to you. I am not perfect. I will fall again. But I am forgiven.
Do you know Jesus? Do want the Holy Spirit to fill you and give you understanding and salvation? Ask Him. Want someone to pray with you? Contact me.
If you would like to know Jesus as your friend, but want to make this amazing commitment by yourself please pray something like this:
Thank you Jesus that You are the Son of God, the God that created heaven and earth. Thank you Jesus that You came to earth in the form of a man so that You would be able to empathize with my humanity. Thank You that You did this in order to fulfill the promises You made at the foundation of the world.
I realize that I am a sinner and do things that hurt myself and keep myself away from you. Thank You that You died for my sins so that You could defeat death and bring me into Your life. Please forgive me.
I ask You to be Lord of my life. I ask you to heal my hurts and show me what my new life, empowered by You looks like. Thank You for Your mercy.
The Lord is with you always.