When I say something nice to you or help you in some way that makes you feel valued, there is within you a positive experience. Call this love.
If I hurt you in some way, or hurt something or someone you care about, there is within you a negative experience. Call this hatred.
What if ‘God’ or ‘Spirit’ or ‘Chi’ is the grand sum total of all the love and hatred that is passed between people throughout the world? Then it is clear how God lives within us, and our power of choice is the source of both love a hate in the world. And because my impact on you influences your impact on others, and your impact on them influences their impact on still others, then my actions of love or hatred may have an unknowably far reach. We are all inextricably linked as a human species, and each of us has far more power than we realize.
So it makes a difference to smile at a stranger, to lend a hand to a neighbor, to buy lunch, to speak kindly.
It makes a difference when we respond to violence with violence; to meet hurtful words from others with hurtful words of our own; to road rage; to gossip.
It matters whether we forgive old wounds. Even if the other party doesn’t know.
In any given circumstance we may choose to spread love, perpetuate hate, or stand on the sideline doing neither. What if the purpose of the great religions of the world is to cultivate love while minimizing the spread of hatred? I don’t wish to debate theology, but I do find it helpful to ground myself in simple first principles. When we choose a particular action or choose to say or write certain words, what is our intent? To bring more love into the world, to perpetuate hatred, or to stand on the sideline?