There's so much hate, divisiveness, name-calling, mud-slinging, tribalism... I'm sure there's been a fist fight or two over which CSI series is the best one... for some reason...
It's in the news. Politics. Social Media. It's on your favorite TV show! It's on your least-favorite TV show! It's so bad that maybe your pets are even picking up on it! I'm pretty sure mine are.
The worst part of it all is that feeling of isolation. You're so afraid you might say, think, or do the wrong thing that you censor yourself. It's hard enough when it's the world at-large you're concerned about, but when it's people you respect or admire, or loved ones like friends and family, the last thing you want is for them to think of you as "one of those..."
You know that feeling. It's like when you were a kid and your parents put your least favorite dish in front of you for dinner. You scrunched up your face and turned your nose up at it. You don't want to be that dish!
No one does! So while we may create loose connections with people who hold the same ideals, opinions and worldview as we do (after all, that's more comfortable), the much deeper connections and relationships we have with the people we love start to fall by the wayside.
We're driven in that direction because, as a society, we're gradually losing the basic fundamentals like respect and dignity, kindness and understanding.
Why is this happening? What's behind all of this?
And how does this gradual decline of basic fundamentals affect humanity?
I believe this is happening because politics, the media, special interests and even the pressures and demands of a 24/7 world have more or less conspired to pit humanity against itself.
Politicians, for instance, have figured out how to properly divide and conquer their constituents so that, somehow, they no longer represent us - we represent them. We jump on their bandwagons and when our friends, family, and other loved ones don't, we shun them because they aren't "part of our tribe". And when you're the one who is shunned, that just drives you deeper into your own tribe - the one that appears to accept you for who you are (when in truth you're often a means to an end). We're so polarized that there's no longer a middle ground, which means there's no room for discussion or proper debate. Anyone who falls out of line with the accepted political narrative is "canceled" as a result.
Meanwhile, the media knows that if they want to make money, they have to hold your attention. So they have to speak to your pre-existing biases. This "confirmation bias" keeps you glued to their channel, network, or platform, thereby making them more and more money. They essentially tell you what you want - or what you expect - to hear, sometimes with half-truths and sometimes with blatant lies. The news is no longer "news"... it's entertainment. You're told how to think and feel about the other side, further dividing us and, in turn, giving more power to politicians and special interests.
And all of this is made easier for those in power because - generally speaking - we've become a 24/7 society. There's more coming at us all the time. More demands, more responsibilities. More requirements just to get by. Adulting is HARD. In fact, there doesn't seem to be enough time in a day to do all that is expected of us, so of course something has to give, right? It's way easier and takes way less time to just tick all your political party's boxes at the voting booth; easier to paint others with a broad brush that gives you permission to throw them into a box and push them off to the side; easier to watch your news program of choice because it doesn't make you burn energy by questioning your own beliefs or the world around you - it even emboldens your resolve to "toss those idiots into a bin".
All of these things have come together to virtually erase all complexity from the world. Now everyone you know (and especially those you don't) can be labeled and categorized with one word. Now everyone is a monolith. Now everything is a simple "this or that" game. You don't even have to think about whether or not you're a "this" or a "that" - by this point you've already come to the table a fully-formed member of one or the other.
People who want to control you know this. It's part of what makes things so much easier for them. I don't think they planned it this way - but they've certainly figured out how to use it.
You can see where this is heading. And I'd be willing to bet I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. Of course you do - you deal with it on a daily basis!
So, then, what's the solution? In a world that's constantly trying to force you to pick a side, what do you do? With all of these forces trying to control you, what power could you possibly have to stop them?
When I started God Jots many years ago, my intention was to just journal my experience as a relatively new follower of Christ. A Christian Newb as I like to say. I came to my faith the long way - through deep thought, analysis, some particularly rough nudges from God, and a lot of coffee. Maybe a good pint here or there too. I wanted to boil this down to the essence of what I felt my relationship with Jesus was, or what it was going to be. Strip away the dogmas, the ceremonies, the routines (the stuff that can be pretty intimidating to a newb)... get right down to the basic message and purpose. Once I had that, I knew I'd have a strong foundation upon which to build everything else.
Or, better yet, to make sense of everything else.
I believe that foundation to come from what Jesus considered to be the Greatest Commandment. "Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart... Love your neighbor as yourself." If there's nothing else you take from the Bible, take that. We are literally commanded to Love. Not fairy tale Love, not hopeless romantic Love. Not Love for CSI, definitely. I'm talking about something much deeper and much more powerful.
I'm talking about the kind of Love that God is. The kind of Love that He has for each of us. Equal. Unconditional. Permanent.
God has that kind of Love not just because He made us - He has that kind of Love because He knows us better than we know ourselves. You've heard that before, right?
Knowledge. That's the key. Knowledge is what leads to Love. You can't know someone that deeply and that intensely and not also Love them. And when you know and Love someone that deeply and intensely - the way God does - you begin to find that you want for them, even when those wants seem counter to your own. That's not only how real Compromise happens - that's how each human being builds stronger bonds of Love and understanding with other human beings, regardless what those other human beings believe.
And the way to accomplish this is through Compassion. Compassion is how you get to know someone. Compassion is how you get to understand someone. Compassion is how you get to Love someone.
It's not about agreement. It's not about approving of another person's decisions or conclusions. Or even their way of life. Compassion is literally about acknowledging that every human being was born a blank slate; that things have happened in their life to bring them to where they are right now, to draw the conclusions that they've made... that the path they've walked is entirely different from your own and, therefore, it's completely unreasonable to expect them to see the world the same way you see it.
It's not tolerance. Tolerance is, by its nature, dismissive.
It's not empathy. Empathy is, very often, not something you choose to feel. It's passive. It doesn't know. And it's nowhere near as comprehensive.
Compassion, by contrast, is something you actively participate in. It's something you purposefully do. It's a choice.... which by extension means Love is a choice. Yes, it takes time. It takes patience. And it takes a lot of work. Why do you think most people aren't bothering with it?
But the good news is that I'm trying my damndest to make it easy. Or at least easier. I'm constantly publishing content about what I think are the best methods to understanding and implementing Compassion. I've collected some of the best articles right here on this page, and beyond that nearly all of my God Jots have roots in some of the same principles.
Learn how your proximity to other people affects the power of Compassion; how properly knowing and Loving yourself paves the way to knowing and Loving others; or how an offending remark is actually the beginning of a new conversation centered around Compassion.
I'm not a trained theologian. I've never been to seminary. I'm not a consistent Church-goer. And I certainly don't know everything there is to know about God and Jesus.
What I do know is that God Loves each of us equally and unconditionally, no matter who we are, what we've experienced, or what we've done - good or bad. And that in order to fulfill that Greatest Commandment (and in so doing eradicate hate, bigotry, ignorance and injustice - repair old relationships and create all new ones) we need to learn how to see, know, and Love others the same way.
This is not only how we restore the basic fundamentals of respect and dignity, kindness and understanding, to humanity. This is how we each begin walking a path to a more fulfilled life. This is a part of our purpose. This is part of why we're here.
And it's how you take the power back from those who want to control you. It's how you give it back to others.
So if you weren't sure where to begin with God Jots, I would definitely suggest that you start right here by reading the below articles. Comment, share, implement what you learn. And then subscribe to the mail list for updates, exclusives and bonus content.
And you can always contact me personally and pick my brain. Although... just be aware I don't know what's going to come out of there sometimes!
With the world seemingly falling apart all around us, now is the time to do the work we've been sent here to do. Now is the time for the world to experience the transformative power of Compassion.
So let's get started!
Talk soon! God bless!