True leaders know that the seed of an idea can be nurtured and grown in the soil of fear, or the soil of goodwill. Both types of soil are fertile, and if the plants are well-tended, both will bear fruit.
By our fruits we are known.
Let’s consider these ideas: Our skin color makes us different. Our religions make us different. Difference makes it difficult to connect.
Consider what happens when those idea/seeds are planted and cultivated in the soil of fear: Difference means hierarchy, it means scarcity, it means estrangement. It means that some of us are better than others, that there’s not enough to go around, and we must retreat to our corners and fight for what is “ours.”
Now consider how those plants grow in the soil of goodwill.
Difference is acknowledged, and honored. We’re not all the same, but the things that make us different enrich the human community. We are curious about difference, rather than threatened. We don’t worry about scarcity, because we know that if everyone is allowed to perform at their highest potential, we will all benefit. Estrangement is overcome, as we are motivated to connect, not self-segregate.
True leaders know that a climate of fear is toxic to the human community. The fruits of fear are anger, attack, suspicion, and disconnection. And the other fruits, the fruit of goodwill that would see us all connected?
“The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5: 22-23).
That’s the climate each of us needs to create in our communities, in order to bear good fruit. We can start by recognizing when we’re acting toward others from a place of fear. Whatever we feed and fertilize will result in a harvest.