This might be a hard statement, but I’m going to make it anyway. We grow to the degree we have empathy for the police officer, Derek Chauvin, the man who placed his knee on George Floyd’s neck until George took his last breath. How is such growth possible? It is the journey of the contemplative.
Let us be realistic. Whilst the general population may possess, to put it politely, anti-love sentiments towards Derek Chauvin and as distasteful as it may be, the inescapable reality is this: Derek Chauvin is dearly loved by God. I am no more loved by God than Derek Chauvin is. You are no more loved by God than is Derek Chauvin. This is the inescapable reality! This is humbling.
In the Christian tradition, the greatest commandment is to love God, love your neighbour, and love yourself. I cannot help but feel as I watch the world news what a different world we would live in if we actually and truly loved ourselves.
This is extraordinary challenging! But it makes sense. In my personal philosophy, I love the truth that siblings who share a womb often possess an amazing sense of togetherness for life. When it comes to their relationships, separateness is not part of their vocabulary.
My concept of God encompasses the fact that all creation is within God. We are all creatures of the one womb. Separateness should not be part of our vocabulary.
In the Christian tradition, the most exciting promise Jesus ever made was, “I have come to give you life and give it to the full!” (John 10:10).
Now, for me, it makes perfect sense that fullness of life is not possible if we withhold love. Why? Because God is love and we were created in the image and likeness of God. Whilst we were created in the image and likeness of God, the full flowering of that image and likeness is what constitutes our ‘purpose of life’.
In the Christian tradition this is called becoming more Christ-like. Ultimately, this is a journey for each of us. We call it the journey to wholeness. Which is another way of expressing fullness of life. A life where it is not possible to withhold love!
John Main talked about “Reverencing others. Reverencing their importance and reverencing the wonder of their being.” I would say it starts with, “Reverencing ourselves. Reverencing our importance and reverencing the wonder of our being.” From there we can progress to an all encompassing unconditional love of our fellow brothers and sisters.
Great insight Derek. A grounding perspective. Thank you for sharing.
This resonates with the Truth within. It came to me one day when I was pondering about the cruel and horrific behaviour a person can do to another human being, to an animal, etc: “Those are my sickest children.” These were not words my mind came up with. They came from the PRESENCE OF A LOVE that enveloped me in such tears of understanding and compassion that I needed to catch my breath.
Best I can describe with the use of words!
I definitely agree with the principal, but I’m not sure about defining it as empathy. When I saw the video of this horrific event, I felt sick. Perhaps that is the empathetic response to Chauvin’s sickness of soul. It is Compassion that is the Christ-like response to this sickness wherever it arises among humans.