Errors call for correction, not punishment
I am never upset for the reason I think. (Eckhart Tolle)

The problem is always lack of love

Yesterday we said that errors call for correction, not punishment, and that the correction is love. Today we consider what this looks like in practice.

Punishment is easy. It removes all responsibility from the so-called innocent, asks little of us, and allows us to remain detached. When the punishment invariably fails, it is never seen as our fault. Instead, we may rationalize that perhaps the punishment wasn’t severe enough and that more violence is justified next time.

But the loving response—the only true correction—asks more of us than this. We must go within to see beyond our differences, to realize that we are all brothers and sisters. In love, we may then respond to the need using any means necessary. We humble ourselves, we serve, we get our hands dirty, we do whatever it takes to address the unmet need at the core of the problem.     

At the core, we find that the problem is always lack of love. Sometimes there are external manifestations of this problem that must be undone first (i.e. breaking serious drug addiction, undoing destructive thought patterns, lifting each other out of poverty, breaking cycles of abuse). We can use any means necessary to tear down the walls blocking love, but the purpose of intervention must always be undoing the problem—not merely punishment.

If the problems of this world seem too large, too impossible to address, it is only because we have failed to love for so long—failed at each step of the way. We now realize that any lack of love is the tragedy. Lack of love in our hearts and actions is the only sin—the only error that we are now correcting. We continue tomorrow and each day after that. 373