Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him. Martin Luther King Jr.
Meditation: My teenage girls come home from school sometimes bruised emotionally, sometimes even physically. Somebody bumped into them. Somebody pushed them. A group of friends excluded them. Some teenagers are even bullied, threatened physically or beaten. A space “free from violence and hate” is a rare experience. Additionally children often do not experience their home as a place of refuge. Bickering, fighting, arguing and ongoing conflict are part of many children’s and teenagers’ experience of adult behavior. And now even the language of our president is filled with profanity, aggression and enemy speech. As aware parents we try to make our children feel safe, show them respect and teach them respect. We believe this will determine how they will respond to the violence they encounter. When my daughter came home today bruised physically and emotionally, instead of going to the feeling of hate, she was able to express the more vulnerable feelings of anger and sadness. She was upset that those she trusted betrayed her trust. I told her “I am glad you know that this behavior was wrong and that you deserve better.”
Prayer: Gracious God, we cannot protect our children from every harm. We cannot prevent them from encountering injustice. However, as we ground ourselves in you, we can let them experience safety, love and respect as a way of responding to experiences of injustice and feelings of hate. God, help us to not commit internal violence. Help our spirit to refuse to hate and help us teach our children not to allow the poison of hate to enter their bodies, minds and spirits. Amen
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27