How the unlovely, the broken and the disadvantaged are treated is the measure of society.
If you go behind all our masks, behind the tattoos, the makeup, the hair, the gender, the orientation, the religion or non-religion, you will meet a human. Someone who breathes the air, has blood in their veins, eats, rests, and generally lives from one routine to another.
We are all human.
My eyes were opened one day when a feared gang member stopped outside a food shop to buy his lunch. What I saw that day was a person, who probably ordered and paid for his favourite sandwich, and looked forward to eating it.
A man with a hunger, a need, a desire for something, normal, satisfying.
I got to know this man in a small way over a few years, I knew him as a person who looked out for his friends, he was a caring man, he tried to protect youth when needed. He shared with me his concerns about children playing in a derelict building site. He had a desire to improve his circumstances and of those around him.
He was also a gang member, he wore a patch, I am sure he had earned it in a way I did not want to know about. He was an outcast from “normal” society.
What I mainly saw was the man, a human.
A desire to change from someone with a less than “normal” past, whether that be criminal or other anti-social background (mental health especially has a stigma that people need to overcome) requires us to change our attitude, it requires us to get out of our comfort zone to reach out to the one wanting to change.
It means taking a risk.
Unless we are prepared to take a risk to reach out to others who are different from us how can we ever expect to improve our community.
To ostracize the unlovely, the broken and the disadvantaged is an indictment on the society we live in.
We need to be a community where forgiveness is a norm, where there is acceptance of the different, and where those wishing to and needing to change can find a place to do so and people who can help.
To love the unlovely is to love your fellow human. Something we are all called to do.
Paul S Allen
There is so much debate about privacy and security especially in New Zealand with the highly controversial Government Communications Security Bureau getting the ability to spy on New Zealand citizens in our own country. It is absolutely right to be concerned about it. The “nothing to hide , nothing to fear” argument is flawed at best. Privacy is a right that needs to be protected.
An important questions is this…
Who determines what is right or wrong?
Yes there are bad people in the world, yes there are criminal elements that want to harm and destroy others for personal gain. There are misguided groups and ideologies that are also set on the destruction of others. Not many would disagree that these need to be stopped. We may not want outlawed gang members to be able to freely associate together, but what about far right (or left) extremists or religious fanatics?
- How far should the rule of law go?
- Who determines what level of “extremes” or “fanaticism” are?
- What about those who just simply disagree with you?
- Where is the boundary between that which acceptable and that which is not?
- Who legislates that?
- Who enforces it?
- Who determines that an ideology or belief should be banned or promoted?
- What are the values and agenda of the law makers?
- Who is to say they are right in their judgement?
- Who will hold them to account?
- Freedom of association is important but to what level? Who determines that?
No answers here just questions.
Fear in itself is neither positive or negative. It is a result of the stimulus of a situation on an area of our psyche that produces a chemical reaction in our bodies. The fight or flight response.
Fear should not be eliminated altogether it serves an important purpose, that is to protect us from harm.
What is needed is, to be able to control and use it. We need to take note of it and understand it then make a decision how we are to act.
React or respond? For the most part the best result of the onset of fear is for us to respond, that is, to act in a considered way.
The main way fear becomes truly negative is when it cause us to become paralyzed and unable to make decisions. Fear can be tamed. When I went to Toastmasters I was taught that it was not about getting rid of the “butterflies in my stomach” it was about making them fly in formation.
Fear should highlight areas that need to be addressed and either fixed or avoided. What fear are you facing?
- What are you being challenged by?
- What are the things that you need to let go or move away from?
- Why do you react the way you do to certain situations?
Fear should result in change, either to the situation or your response to it.
Fear comes in many guises, danger: things that could lead to physical harm or death; change: letting go of the past, moving out of comfort zones, moving from familiar to unfamiliar, risk of loss.
No forward progress can be made if you are tightly holding onto the past.
To get over fear you need to build strategy, develop the ability to control the adrenalin rush. Talk your situation over with trusted friends, mentors, coaches.
To have courage you need to be en-couraged. The great thing about this is when you have courage you can become the encourager.
The wisdom is in knowing which fear needs to be respected and which needs to be dealt with.
There are many irrational fears, phobias and anxieties, these need to be addressed with care and often with professional assistance.