Infinite Hope and the Power of Mercy. BY JEFFREY IMM


Our fellow human beings reach for courage in the difficult times and the difficult age we face today. To the many suffering, endangered, or living in mortal fear around the world, the idea of concern for universal human rights may seem naive and absurd. But while we live on this Earth, we are taught to build our homes on rock, and not on sand. The angry calls for power, violence, and division may seem attractive buildings to house hearts consumed by hate. We Survive Together - by making responsible choices - not with calls for hate, division, and violence. For responsible survival together, we must build on the rock of reason, mercy, mores of our faiths and conscience, and the human reason that understands human dignity must include dignity for ALL fellow human beings. 


A responsible society and responsible individuals must recognize that such dignity, security, life, and human rights are for all - not just for those like us and those we like - but for all.


Whether we face the dark night or shining day of life, our commitment to a shared cause of reason and conscience must endure. We must continue to advocate for hope in humanity. Where it is lacking, we must take on the responsibility to be advocates for such campaigns of mercy, love, life, and dignity, which are universal human rights. As Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. advised: "become the firemen. Let us not stand by and let the house burn." 


Despair must not be allowed the victory of stealing our hearts, dreams, hope, and most of all - the precious trust that we must have for one another. Hate and division must not pridefully steal our conscience and reason for a shared society. We can and we must find the strength to defy these thieves. We freely share and inspire hope, but we must refuse to allow others to steal hope from us.


"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope," as Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was widely quoted in February 1968, two months before his assassination. But Dr. King spoke of this frequently. We must work to build the individual and the societal discipline to live from within instead of from without. Our shared cause must be to "stand up amid the disappointment of life without despairing," as Dr. King counseled for many years. He counseled humanity that "Real peace is something inward, a tranquility of soul amid terrors of trouble. It is inner calm amid the howling rage of outer storm."


Despite the terrible stories of hate, violence, and division among us, we are still share our identies as Human Beings. We are connected to one another, even to those who hate and seek to oppress us. Ultimately, not only do all of us need shared hope and universal human rights, most importantly, we all will ultimately need the power of Mercy in our lives - no matter how powerful and elevated we or others may think they are. In our fragile lives, we must keep the flickering flame of shared human rights shining - by a commitment to mercy - not just to those like and those we like - but to all.


Amongst the storm of hate, anger, division, violence, which howls cruelly at our doors and windows, and which ceaseless screams in our street - let our whisper for Mercy win. Let our defiant whisper for "Mercy" be heard. Not whispers for Mercy in prostrate surrender. But a gathering and an insistent growing whisper for Mercy on the lips of every one of our fellow human beings - ourselves, our loved ones, our cities, our nations. Make our insistent voice for Mercy heard.


Those who believe they can steal Mercy and Hope from our societies parade their pillage in the streets, on our television, and on the Internet. They are proud that they believe can steal these from us. But we have power to regenerate Mercy and Hope in our hearts and in our society, no matter how much is stolen, we can find it anew - every hour of every day. We must always freely give Mercy and Hope, to the fellow members of our human race, no matter who they are. Theivery of it will never pay and ultimately never win. Let us never lose infinite hope.


December 10 is once again the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948 - 74 years ago. Nations of the world, of different nationalities, races, genders, faith, conscience, political views, and backgrounds gathered together to offer a code of 30 articles to offer a framework for freedom, dignity, and of course - Mercy. Foundation ideas and values of humanity are core of the UDHR.


After the end of the World War II in response to the "barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind." They created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as an opportunity for fellow human beings of all types to find a new path and to work towards "the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people."


Difficult times in a difficult age does not force us to choose to focus only on darkness and ignore shining stars of hope in the night. We can choose to be committed to our human "reason and conscience," which is described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and find ways to combat evil by building good.


Let our greatest advocacy on Human Rights be to ourselves.  We know what is wrong. Let us not allow rationalizations to shout over our conscience, which we know is our guide.


Let us do more than simply be outraged at the many injustices in the world. Let us choose to offer and remember the need for Mercy as part of the human rights that we advocate for all.


And when we feel the darkness at our windows, let us light a candle of Mercy, and let the darkness be a canvass to shine upon. Let us our whispered calls for Mercy be most important message that we share amongst all of our society.

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