“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
How to view, and treat, others
A Christian Science perspective: A response to a racist chant from the fraternity at the University of Oklahoma.
The Christian Science Monitor
The recent incident at the University of Oklahoma involving a video of a repulsive racist chant on a fraternity bus is impelling a renewed focus on race and class in the United States. The incident is being dissected and analyzed by psychologists, educators, and social scientists, as well as the media – including this newspaper. Taken together with recent confrontations between law enforcement and local communities, there’s an urgency to find lasting solutions.
In sorting out how I can contribute to solutions, I find that as a Christian Scientist and student of the Bible, I’m irresistibly drawn to counsel that I believe can lead to healing. Two admonitions in the New Testament stand out: Love your neighbor and Treat others the way you want them to treat you (Matthew 22:39 and Matthew 7:12 respectively). Those two rules – one of them considered golden – have been around for thousands of years, and my guess is that at least some of the young men on that fraternity bus in Oklahoma are familiar with them. Christ Jesus spoke those inspired declarations, not as a detached teacher dispensing wisdom to the masses, but as someone who lived and practiced their truth throughout his career, even in drastic circumstances.
Many years ago I lost sight of this basic tenet and learned a painful lesson as a result. At the company where I worked I was once in a free-flowing creative meeting, and without thinking I repeated a joke that used a disparaging ethnic term. It got a laugh from my group, but then I noticed a friend and colleague across the room who came from that same ethnic background. My heart sank, as I knew he’d heard the remark. Although neither one of us ever brought up that regretful moment, his continued cordiality to me was a model of Christly forgiveness, and I learned that I needed to do better in practicing the Golden Rule.
In the writings of Mary Baker Eddy – who discovered Christian Science and who founded this newspaper – we find firm counsel on this matter: “[Christian Science] teaches us to rise from sentimental affection which admires friends and hates enemies, into brotherly love which is just and kind to all and unable to cherish any enmity” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 41).
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