I had a very insightful conversation yesterday with a couple who both worked in social services.
They shared about somewhat horrific personal upbringings, and also about shocking situations they witnessed while working for the government in helping children from broken families navigate life.
As our conversation meandered from one associated subject to another, we concluded that each of our personal experiences growing up was quite unique when comparing or reflecting on the upbringing of others.
The dynamic I personally had in my home life included the existence of both parents, but for some reason dad never came along for summer vacation... and this I never questioned, because it was simply how it was.
To question what I perceived as 'normal' was not on my mind.
So it is possible to understand, not the actual experience, but the dynamic of difference when some people grew up in an abusive home and may think that physical violence is common in all households.
As the world's cultures, religions, perceptions and value systems continue to solidify, resolve and clash... we are learning how very different others have been raised.
Sadly, for some folks, violence received and violence in response is what their culture or religion teaches.
For others, love is the start and end of all things... despite the desire to respond to violence with violence... and despite what a related religion may hypocritically teach, or what one's government may implement.
If we could grow away from our perceived and manufactured identities, which are usually divisive from the start, and embrace the things we do have in common, perhaps the clashing of culture can become a compliment of sorts.
If one could truly hold onto “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” perhaps the clashing will eventually resolve.
If one could even go as far as to “love your enemy” and “do good to those who persecute you” perhaps God's true nature will be revealed in some men, helping them see past their violent upbringing and slanted view of others from a different upbringing, religion and culture.