Mohondas Gandhi saw a problem. He saw his beloved India oppressed by British rule, so he organized a nonviolent resistance movement. In his view, he would appeal to something deeper within all of us—the desire for freedom. Rather than use force to counter the force of the British, his response was different. He knew that he would have to be a role model of what leadership should look like. Rather than forcing others to subvert to his will, he took a different approach:
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
If you want peace, be peaceful. Look to resolve conflicts rather than seek them out. Try to appeal to the best in others, even if they disagree with you on superficial matters. It makes no sense to criticize another if you adopt the same behavior yourself.
Let’s also consider the model of Jesus. His resistance to authority wasn’t meant with a weapon. He employed truth and compassion. His disciples weren’t powerful men. Jesus didn’t have a super PAC to help his cause. Everywhere he went, he appealed to people’s better angels rather than demand others to submit to him.
We might not use physical violence against someone else, but what about our violence of words? Do we think we can convince someone to our point of view by bullying or insulting them? You might “win” that argument, but you won’t win the war because you haven’t changed their mind, let alone their heart.
Take a look at your own social media account. What are you sharing and promoting? Vitriol? Then you’ll only receive vitriol. Promoting materialistic values? Then you’ll only get ads telling you you don’t have enough. What you give is what you get. If you choose to perpetuate rumors about another, you yourself are perpetuating instability in yourself as well as the world.
Conflicts and wars occur when there is an imbalance of power. If you are on the “wrong” side of power, you can’t use force to get power back. That doesn’t promote equality. It just means that when you become the one in power, you’ll use force yourself. You can rant all you want, fueled by emotion, but you’ll only fuel the emotions of those who agree with you. You won’t change anything except your own emotional instability.
Instead, you can appeal to people’s human values—integrity, honesty, balance.