Attacking Others is Attacking Ourselves

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King Jr.

When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.
Bernard Meltzer

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
Mahatma Gandhi

George Zimmerman is found not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin and the country goes into attack mode. He’s characterized as evil incarnate. It’s a tragedy that Trayvon Martin was killed in a senseless way. We all feel angry and helpless about what happened to him. But aren’t we killing ourselves to hate George Zimmerman?

Every single religion teaches us that we must forgive our enemies. They don’t teach that so that the person we hate benefits, they teach that so that we benefit. I know from personal experience that when I hold a grudge and refuse to forgive, it hurts me a lot more than it does the other person. In fact, the other person might not even know they hurt me, or that I’m holding a grudge. They may feel perfectly justified in what they did. My hatred and the desire for revenge holds me back, makes me ill and cuts me off from the divine goodness that could come to me. To forgive is the ultimate act of self-love. We can’t love others if we don’t love ourselves.

We need to forgive George Zimmerman not for him, but for ourselves. If you think about it, can we really know what happened on that terrible day? I mean, were you there when Trayvon got shot? Did you see it happen? Were you there in the courtroom? Did you hear every piece of evidence? We can never know what goes on inside another person’s mind. We can’t possibly know what was going on in George Zimmerman’s mind when he shot Trayvon Martin. And we can’t know what was going on in Trayvon’s mind in his last moments. We don’t know the larger purpose of that event.

I wrote last week that we need to give up fear and trust God, or whatever you call God. I need to say here that I call God, Divine Oneness. I chose that name because we’re all connected. Everything in the universe, everything that exists is connected. That’s not just my opinion. Science has proven that we are all made of the same elements as what’s out in the cosmos. So, if we’re going to trust Divine Oneness to manage things for us, we have to let Her/Him take care of George Zimmerman’s fate too. We’re not God. Our teeny little brains can’t manage our own lives, much less all that exists. Nor can we understand the bigger picture of the plan Divine Oneness has in store for us. So we’ve got to stop buying into the idea that revenge is sexy, cool, protects us and balances the books. It doesn’t. It eats away our humanity.

I had two experiences that I think relate to George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. When my husband and I took our trip around the world in 1996, I broke down in almost uncontrollable tears at two different sites. The first was in Notre Dame in Paris. It was a lovely spring day and the Cathedral was full of tourists. The choir was practicing in the choir loft. We entered the Cathedral and began walking the tourist path. To the right just inside the entrance was a life size statue of Joan of Arc. I saw the statue and began to weep. Barry was very concerned. He didn’t know why I was reacting in such a way. I stood there blocking the path while other tourists tried to get around me. Finally, Barry said, “Do you want to pray?” There was an area cordoned off with chairs for those who wanted to pray. We sat there for about twenty minutes while I wept. To this day I’m not sure what made me weep at the sight of Joan’s statue, but I think it had to do with the fact that she was sacrificed in a senseless grab for power. She had a pure understanding of her purpose and she was willing to follow her guidance no matter where it led her. We remember her, not so much the men who burned her at the stake.

The other time I broke into tears, was when we were in Delhi, India at the Raj Ghat where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. In the midst of the city, which is crammed with buildings, is a lovely large parklike area. The moment we entered the gates, I felt we were walking on sacred ground. Our Sikh guide was telling us about the grounds and about Gandhi’s life. One of the other tourists asked, “Gandhi was a Hindu wasn’t he? Then why was he killed by a Hindu man?” The guide, who was very tall and elegant said, “It is often the case that men of great vision are misunderstood.” At that moment I was filled with the importance of Gandhi’s message and the meaning his life held for the world. I began to weep. We haven’t learned yet to let go of violence, and Trayvon Martin is just the latest example of the accepted viewpoint that guns protect us. I wept for the loss of Trayvon Martin just like I did for Joan of Arc and Gandhi and all the other victims of senseless violence.

I have a friend who says, “There are no victims, only volunteers.” Both Joan of Arc and Gandhi volunteered to be examples of love, purpose and peace. They left us a great legacy. We need to contemplate the legacy Trayvon Martin leaves, not nurse the hatred we feel for George Zimmerman. As my father used to say, “People who hurt others are in pain themselves.” George Zimmerman most certainly acted out of fear when he shot Trayvon Martin. He’s living in his own kind of hell. I refuse to join him there by hating him, because as A Course in Miracles says, “Attacking others is attacking yourself.”

Published by lucindasagemidgorden

I grew up in the West, the descendant of people traveling by wagon train to a new life. Some of their determination and wanderlust became a part of me. I imagine them sitting around the campfire telling stories, which is why I became first a theatre artist, then a teacher and now a writer. They are all ways of telling stories.

10 thoughts on “Attacking Others is Attacking Ourselves

  1. This is beautiful, Lucinda. Very well written. I wish more people could read what you wrote or more people would speak with similar voice, though maybe not as eloquent. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Thanks for your comment, mom. I wrote it because I’d like to help change the way we interact with each other and ourselves.


  3. I am intrigued by the title of your post. I agree wholeheartedly with the ideal expressed in that title, and if we could get every human being on Earth to realize that attacking others is the same as attacking themselves, maybe they’d all stop. Wouldn’t that be wondeful? To stretch it just a tad, I wish it were within my power to make that title true–that attacking others is the same as attacking ourselves–even in a physical way, so that the shooter is shot, the rapist is raped, the slasher is slashed, the murderer murdered, immediately, by his or her own hand. But it doesn’t work like that. Also, unfortunately, the title doesn’t speak to the immediacy of *being* attacked. When you are being threatened or attacked, all you can think of is how to make it stop. And the simple fact is, even if the second amendment to the Constitution had never existed, every living creature (not only the human being) has the inborn right to defend his or her or its own life by whatever means available. I am exceedingly glad you pointed out that most of us were neither there to witness the situation nor in the room with the jury to pore over the evidence. Most of the opinions we form about any topic are not based on current reality but on previous experience or on our own sense of what we believe we would do if presented with the same situation. I guess it’s up to each of us to speculate on what we might have done had we been in Zimmerman’s shoes. Sadly, had the killing in this particular situation gone the other way, none of this would have been an issue. Sigh.


    1. Harvey, Thanks for your comments. It’s good to debate these kinds of situations. By having our point of view challenged, we have the opportunity to reconsider. The title comes from a quote and an exercise in “A Course in Miracles” that is trying to get us to see that we’re all connected and when we hurt others we hurt ourselves, and when another is hurt, we’re hurt too.


    2. Harvey, I’ve been doing more thinking about your comment. I don’t know if you’ve read “The Shack” by Wm. Paul Young. That book explains exactly what I’m trying to get at in my post. The book is about a man’s spiritual awakening, after his young daughter is kidnapped and killed. He’s tortured by the thought of her suffering alone. He goes into a very deep depression. Four years or so after her death, he’s led to the shack where she died and has a deeply moving spiritual experience where he meets and is taught by God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. They show him that the soul of his daughter didn’t suffer at all during her attack. That she was protected by them and now her soul is living the life her father would have wanted for her. She’s living in joy. Not only that, the whole event of her kidnapping and murder has a much larger significance than he could have possibly imagined. I think part of the reason we are so upset when tragedies happen, is because we assume that the victims suffered so much. What if they didn’t? What if something else is going on?


      1. Hi Lucinda,
        Sorry to be back so late. I hadn’t checked the box to receive followups. I understood the intent of your post and the title. If we harm the collective human consciousness, we harm ourselves because we’re part of it. I do get it. (It assumes belief in the collective human consciousness, though.)
        I haven’t read that book, but the notion that a “soul” didn’t suffer isn’t the same as saying the woman herself didn’t suffer physically, and of course no father would want to think of his beloved chid suffering, whether mentally from terror or physically from abuse.
        Also there’s the thought, the very idea, that some creep had so much audacity as to believe he had the right to impose his will on another. I personally get upset (read *enraged*) at examples of that audacity. Also, we’re dealing with definitions here. To me a tragedy is the result of an accident or an act of nature. Premeditated violent crimes are the result of an audacious act of will by someone who simply doesn’t care that his rights stop where tne next person’s rights begin.
        Also, we’re mixing the physical and the ethereal. I completely agree with the intent of your post re the collective etc. but to transfer that same thought to physicality (if you wanted to do so) would take a considerably large conversion kit. 🙂
        I’ll try to remember to check back, but it might be better to just email me directly. I tend to draw fire when I stick my head up and say too much, and I don’t want to draw any in your direction.


      2. Harvey, That’s okay. I’ve been trying to think of how to respond to your latest comment. It’s hard to put 30 plus years of study, contemplation, learning and growing into one little blog post.
        The thing I want to respond to in your reply is that I’ve learned that I can’t control anyone else, and when I’m enraged by what someone else does, that hurts me not them. I still get enraged about things that happen, but at least now I’m aware that I’m hurting myself and I choose to meditate or pray to turn my rage into something less harmful until I can let it go. I think that there is something much larger going on in the daily events we experience than we are aware of, but I have no idea what that is. I just trust that Divine Oneness is in control. All I can do is work on myself, and then as I interact with people, maybe I make a contribution to make the world a better place. I certainly don’t have everything figured out. I’m just expressing a point of view from where I am now.


  4. Well written Lucinda. While we grieved for leaders or great personality people killed, there are lot of poor hill communities being killed senselessly, unremembered! What God valued most is Life so we must also respect and valued it, and Attacking Others (People) is Attacking God – the Maker.
    Wishing you the best in all yours writings so that at least some people got new life!


    1. Joseph, Thanks for your kind words. I believe that these senseless deaths won’t stop until we have each healed the demons within ourselves. I’m working hard on that. Keep up your good work.


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