Originally created 09/09/01

A kind word, gesture can cross barriers of fear and promote racial harmony

I've noticed several very good letters regarding racial harmony lately, especially Brian Green's perceptive letter of Aug. 25.

We are now a world community that should be learning all that we can from each other. The problems we have can only begin to be solved by loving and caring for each other every moment of every day that we cross each others' paths, while we work together to meet our common goals.

The Christian community has been instructed by the Bible to do just that. One of the best illustrations is that of the Good Samaritan in the Bible. It was clear to the people of that day that this Samaritan - an outsider of a different race, religion and culture - helped a wounded man from their Jewish heritage. They, his own people, would not help him and passed on by, pretending not to notice his distress.

For people who are not Christian, but of the melting pot of cultures, races and religions that should be such an enriching part of our American heritage, the Golden Rule can apply: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If we were kind and courteous to each other and served each other's needs, day by day, moment by moment, even with simple things - a smile, a kind word, an introduction, a handshake, a helping hand, a genuine interest in the other - many problems would be solved.

We are our neighbors' keepers and for Christians, our neighbor is clearly defined.

As a full-time homemaker and mother of four, I may not ever do great things. I may possibly only do little things, but I can learn from and act upon something that Jesus exemplified for all Christians with the simple but profound act of washing the feet of his disciples.

The lesson is clear: We are here to serve each other and love one another as he has loved us. It is hard work, but the rewards of serving each other expand exponentially if we each match at least one good deed in thanksgiving for one that someone else has compassionately done for us ...

Let us all make our short time on this Earth better for our having been here - no matter what our DNA may suggest to less-educated people our limitations might be.

Let us get to know each others' hearts and souls instead of making assumptions based on the color of our skin. St. Peter isn't going to stand at the gate and say someone was a better person than another based on a 1 to 5 percent difference in their DNA.

Despite my earliest impressions from the religious illustrations I saw as a white child in Sunday school, I don't believe God would have made Adam and Eve fair-skinned in the part of the world in which they are believed to have been created.

So let us respect each other, knowing we are more alike than different, respect and learn from our differences, cross the barriers of fear and ignorance and find common ground to become productive in solving our problems.

Theresa Johnson VonPlinsky, Augusta


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