Let me lay a foundation for this post first. The foundation is that we – humans – are all equal. There are universal laws that apply to one and all with no discrimination for or against anyone. What laws you ask? The laws of nature. The law of gravity for example. If a king and a beggar fall off a cliff with no safety gear, they will both land on the ground below – hard. Gravity doesn’t care who you are. Newton’s laws of motion apply to everyone too. Newton’s law #1 says that an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force. I’m sure you’ve all experienced this law. When you are in a car and the car breaks speed suddenly, what happens to you? You are thrown forward because your body (the object) was moving along at the same speed of the car so when the speed of the car changed, your body remained in motion. It doesn’t matter who is in the car. Newton’s law of motion applies to all.
There’s the foundation. Essentially, we are all equal. We are all important. We all matter.
Now we all know that we do not always treat each other as equals. But truly, the differences we impose between ourselves are unnatural.
What happens when we create differences?
On May 25 2020, a cop in Minneapolis knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nearly 8 minutes causing his death. George’s death triggered an uproar of anger towards the police force’s violence towards black people. The protests were because of the profiling and discrimination against black people by the police. It appears that some policemen have determined that every black person is a bad person. They treat black people differently just because they are black.
Have you ever knelt on a person’s neck causing their death? Yeah, I know you’ll indignantly say “No!” But let’s think of the metaphorical way of kneeling on people’s necks causing their death.
Have you ever treated someone unfairly? Have you ever judged someone as bad person simply on their appearance? Have you ever talked badly about someone behind their back? Have you ever taken out your frustrations on someone? Yelled at your kid? Yelled at your co-worker? Yelled at your spouse?
We all might have at some point knelt on someone’s neck metaphorically. When we treat others badly or unfairly, we may be causing them to die a little bit inside. We cause them to have a little less faith in the goodness of people. We cause them to have a little less belief in their value to you and to the world. If a person consistently interacts with people who treat him badly, he loses his zest for life and when he does, he will not live fully as he was designed to. In his mind, he will place restrictions on what he is capable of achieving and thus will not be fully ALIVE. He therefore will not give of himself fully into the activities of his life.
Have you ever stood by and watched as someone else knelt on a person’s neck? No?
Have you ever listened to gossip? Have you ever not spoken up against the unfair treatment of another? If so, you watched as someone knelt on another person’s neck causing them to die a little inside.
The story of George Floyd got me thinking about my interactions with others. No one has ever physically knelt on my neck but I have had people metaphorically kneel on my neck. Over the years, I have learned to ignore people’s bad treatment of me and have understood my value. But not everyone understands their value. Not everyone is unaffected by other people’s bad treatment of them. It is important that we are careful not to interfere with people’s full enjoyment of their lives because if we all live fully we make the world a better place.