If you’ve been reading most of my posts this month, you might have noticed that I am on a divisiveness awareness streak. February is supposed to be the month of love. Yet, in our country, I’m feeling anything but the love. All I see on the news, related to politics, is name-calling and bickering. Well, I’ve had enough of it! It’s time to build friendships, not enemies.
Did you know that friendliness is a virtue? With what we see on the news lately, I would say that friendliness has become obsolete in the Halls of Congress and across the Trump administration. This attitude of unfriendliness permeates throughout our society, as well. It’s very easy to give people ugly nicknames on Twitter, or at a rally; thus, demeaning and dehumanizing them. However, it takes great strength to sit across the table from someone with whom you disagree with politically, and choose to find common ground upon which you can build friendships. The citizens of our country seem to lack the strength (another virtue) to build friendships. Instead, we become divisive and unfriendly with each other; each going to our own corners. This must stop!
Christ calls each of us to “love your neighbor” (Mark 12:31), and that includes everyone! I’ll admit: On some days, that’s a tall order. Yet, we must strive to build each other up, rather than tear each other down. We must foster friendships, and that starts with the virtue of friendliness. To embrace friendliness, we must rely upon other virtues that act as a foundation. Those virtues would be love, kindness, compassion and empathy.
- Love is the basis for all good, healthy relationships. It starts with loving yourself. If you can’t love yourself, how can you love anyone else?
- Kindness naturally flows from love, for it is the expression of goodness toward another. Kindness’ source comes from where all love flows – God!
- Compassion allows you to partake in the suffering of another; to bring peace and relief to the other person.
- Empathy enables you to understand another’s plight; to feel sympathy.
With these four building blocks firmly in place, we become well positioned to exit our comfort zones and reach out to others; to love our neighbors. We use these building blocks of love, kindness, compassion and empathy to:
- show respect to the stranger,
- engage in conversation,
- actively listen to others,
- and show understanding for another’s situation.
When we do these things, we begin to make friends, not enemies. We build friendships! Let’s get started!
If you would like to purchase an autographed copy of my book, Adventures of Faith, Hope and Charity: Finding Patience, then click here.