When something awful happens in our world, the common reaction by others is to vocally give condolences and comfort by offering prayers:
“I’ll pray for you.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”
“May God have mercy on you and bless us all.”
When yesterday’s horrible massacre occurred at a night club in Orlando that services the LGBTQ community, many people and organizations gave public statements about how they are praying for the victims and their families.
Many of those offers of prayers were sincere, heartfelt and come from a place of loving kindness.
But you know what? I’m tired of the prayers. I’m tired of the platitudes and the kind words.
I’m sick of the hateful teachings and discriminating policies and shunning of those who are different—yet when something like this happens, I wonder whether prayers somehow absolve us from those other actions?
Maybe, just maybe, do we think that by offering prayers we are trying to prove to ourselves that somehow we would never be a part of such an atrocity?
Maybe it’s what we say when we want to show that we are not like the bad guys?
If our prayers are all coming from different people of all walks of life, maybe we should be focusing our efforts on what actions we can take?
If we’re sorry for the victims and their families, we can show our support by reaching out to them, donating blood, supporting the local hospitals and responders, and remembering the victims by standing against anti-LGBTQ people.
If we have a desire to help, we can offer support with money and time to an organization that supports the rights of all to be free and safe…and promote policies that make our world a more peaceful, accepting place for all.
If we want to make a stand, we can use our voices to condemn all people, all teachings and organizations that perpetuate hateful rhetoric. We can vow to never participate in hateful jokes and call out injustice wherever we find it.
If our hearts bleed for those who hurt, we can be a supportive or listening ear for those who feel they have no one safe to trust or turn to.
We can commit to do something active to take a stand against hate in all its forms.
Maybe we should be showing—through action—that our prayers really mean something?
We all have been carefully taught hate: by our parents, our religions, our friends, our media, our schools, our leaders and society.
Violence is not the answer for hate.
Fight hate with love.
We should love with our actions, not just our words.
May we all live in such a way that if we do pray, it offers energy to our daily actions that shows love for all.
Author: Stephanie Parry
Image: elephant journal
Editors: Renée Picard; Yoli Ramazzina