No, I’m not talking about the filters embedded in Instagram or the ones that make you look like a paranoid bumblebee in Snapchat (though they are clever). I’m talking about the ones that we often forget to use in life. By definition, a filter is a device used to remove impurities or something that is unwanted. For example, you use one in a coffee maker to keep the solid particles out of your cup. Without that filter — the coffee drinking would be pretty unpleasant. Now think of this on a more metaphysical, philosophical or metaphorical level.
It’s been a tough few weeks in this world — death, destruction, doom and gloom. It’s inescapable, it’s escalating and it’s heartbreaking. It’s pretty easy to live using the fear filter. When we use the fear filter — we eliminate love, hope and peace from our lives. We instead end up looking at people sideways and forgo any trust we have of others. Any chance at loving thy neighbor as thyself — as God commands — sort of takes a back seat. We end up filtering in the impurities and wander about in a toxic state. It might also be easy to live in the anger filter. When we live in that filter, we eliminate joy. You get where I’m going with this bit about filters. But there are other filters from which to choose.
As I scroll through feeds on social media, peruse blogs and scan news sites, I’m noticing some new filters being applied in the wake of the recent violence. They’re not really new — they’re just not always the first choice. Our nation’s police officers are using the kindness and connection filters. When those filters are applied — fear, hatred and anger are eliminated. Hope is exacerbated. After losing five of their own in Dallas, the cop community could understandably be on edge. But they’re choosing to rewrite the narrative. They’re choosing a more positive filters. It’s refreshing. Gandhi has always encouraged us to be the change we’d like to see in the world — right? And now we see officers taking that approach.
As I’ve gone through the week, I’ve been a bit more conscious of the filters I’m applying. It’s made the daily grind a bit more enjoyable. If I was wrong, I’ve apologized. If there were an opportunity to encourage others, I’ve tried to do so. Using the positive filters won’t necessarily end all the violence. After all, we can’t control the actions of others. But using the right filters — a little more often — will help with that proverbial pendulum swing.