We can be filled with frustration at the endless cycles in which we appear to be caught, and humanity’s seeming inability to grow and change. Many of the structures of society appear to be organized to maintain the patterns of behavior that have led us to this mess. The current moment calls for moral ferocity. We need to raise our voices with clarity and channel our anger. Ferocity itself, though, holds danger. By claiming the moral high ground, and labeling our opponents misguided, we run the risk of doing great harm in the name of good. We need to balance our moral ferocity with humility and tenderness. We need moral action, boldness, ferocity; but we also need humility and tenderness if we are to hold ourselves together.
When we practice humility, we can avoid the traps of demonizing others, which so many of us seem to fall into. When we practice tenderness, we maintain and deepen connections across differences. If we can educate new generations to balance ferocity with humility and tenderness, questions with responses, then our encounters with darkness, whether in the study of history or the daily news, can galvanize thoughtful, compassionate action.
Adapted from Rabbi Dr. Ariel Burger
Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.
Saint Francis de Sales
Be as objective as you can about the issues that darken our present way of living. Embrace and speak out for change when you have the opportunity. Be courageous but also act with compassion and an awareness of your own limitations.
With all humility and gentleness, with patience, show tolerance for one another in love.
God leads the humble in justice,
And teaches the humble right ways.
Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is good… Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.
Anger that is motivated by compassion or a desire to correct social injustice, and does not seek to harm the other person, is a good anger that is worth having.
Nothing can heal anger except compassion.
Thich Nhat Hanh
The best way to avenge yourself is to not be like that.
Anger is what keeps us from tolerating the intolerable.
William Sloane Coffin
Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Robert F. Kennedy
In the beginning there was only a small amount of injustice abroad in the world, but everyone who came afterwards added their portion, always thinking it was very small and unimportant, and look where we have ended up today.