By Kim Duke

NETA & AAFA Certified Trainer

All the ideas I had for articles today seem like nonsense compared to the incredibly upsetting events that have taken place in our country.  For anyone who knows me, you know that I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve.  I have endured my share of ups and downs and have tried to learn from these experiences versus blaming others for my circumstances.  Now, this does not always come easily; it’s easier to have that knee jerk reaction to situations that are upsetting and seem unfair.  But, as I have learned the hard way, “there are two sides to every story.”  In this day and age, it has become all too clear that no side can come up with solutions because too many people are too busy screaming at the top of their lungs to listen.

The debates I see that are critical to our country and our communities revolve around gun control and opiates. We all know someone who has lost his or her life to gun violence or an overdose.  These tragedies seem to have had a foreshadowing or a warning sign that we see after the fact.  And instead of looking for real life solutions, we start blaming and judging.  We have become a country and a community where one side bashes the other.  The name-calling and judgments I see on social media are out of control.  No one looks up facts; instead they rely on hearsay or junk news to debate their issues.

The fact of the matter is people are dying.  They are dying for reasons that we blame on mental illness, race, religion and wealth.  And instead of finding answers, we pass judgments and look for others to blame. This trickle down effect starts with our elected officials and lands into the laps of many sitting behind their computers and smart phones name calling the victims of these tragedies.

Others use the Bible and/or their religion to comfortably pass judgments.  So, I looked to the Bible for its thoughts on judgments.

Luke 6:37-42 Judging Others

37  “Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

The answers to these growing crises is not cut and dry.  There are clearly many layers.  BUT, until we as the human race decided to treat each other with some form of dignity and respect, you can expect more of the same.

In this article I am calling on YOU, to disregard our elected officials/neighbors who are insulting and insinuating things to create chaos.  Look inside your souls and hearts and do what is right, not what is popular.  Try extra hard to leave curse words and name calling out of your conversations and put yourself in a victim’s shoes.  There are reasons these incidents occur.  There are warning signs.  Try and see both sides before you shoot off your mouth or, even worse, type out your messages on social media.

Lives are at stake.  Not just in Florida or Las Vegas or Newtown, but, right here and right now.  Let’s continue the conversations and discontinue the hateful name-calling.  Let not wait for another massacre or overdose epidemic— let’s be the change that our country and community so desperately need.