Saturday, November 28, 2015

When Does it End?

My heart breaks for all the shooting and unrest that is happening within our country and around the world. The complete lack of regard for human life is not only sickening but deplorable as well. When did human life become something that persons thought they had the power to take. I have grown weary of the violence and bloodshed.

Recently I was battling against this feeling of acceptance to violence. Many of you, if you were honest, would agree. We have become complacent with what is happening. We have grown to accept it as another facet of life. We have come to recognize it as the norm! Let me be honest and offer a little insight. Media had steeled my heart and soul to the violence. I could watch another story on a shooting, stabbing, bombing of a hospital, bodies in the street. Where before I used to turn away in remorse, pain, and empathy it has now become just another news story that I watch without batting an eye. When does it end?

We have become so complacent and accepting of what we see and hear and this has became all too clear at a recent shooting at our mall. Many of you know the story, but a young man shot a woman three times because she had ended a relationship with him, and this all unfolded while Elise and I were within site of the act. A young lady lost her life that evening, and it pains me to say that for a few days it never really set in. I was interviewed for local news agencies. I watched countless reports on the shooting. Read every document I could. But the reality that a child of God was brutally taken from this world did not set in for quite a while.

When it did, I mourned deeply. I began to cry over the violent way a life was ended. All this happened while I was watching a news story on the shooting, and I noticed immediately after that story more stories of violence, pain, and bloodshed filled the newscast. Truly violence sells. Truly violence has so impacted our lives it draws us in. Truly violence has become a way of life for us. Whether we commit it or choose to ignore it we are allowing violence to continue.

We must do something about this! We must change this! We must bring the love of Christ to the forefront of these issues! No more sitting by. No more pretending it doesn't happen. No more making excuses. No more ignorance. No more!!!

Let me make this clear: This is neither a political rant nor a religious stance (although I hope all I do and say is rooted in Christ and His calling on us to be His disciples) although those must be addressed. First for all of us who use these acts of violence as a pedestal for our political views and candidates...STOP! Stop using it as a crutch to fuel your political party, and simply help us stop it. Do not post your hashtags claiming you want to end violence, but do something about it. Hashtags mean nothing without helping the problem. Do not scream on street corners at those you do not agree with. When has yelling ever solved anything? Maybe engage the person and have a vested interest in them and perhaps change can take place. Attempting to block traffic and disrupt public servants turns them against your cause because you have become part them problem in their eyes. Maybe bring them coffee and ask to talk over your views. When was the last time you took your mayor, congressman, police chief lunch and asked to talk over the issues facing your town, county, state, country, or world? Instead of criticizing how a shooter or child molester "fits the profile" or "looks like someone who would do that" maybe we should focus on reaching out to those people before these acts occur. So many of these individuals have faced trauma and hurt that have now become a catalyst for what they did, but in the same breath so many of them never received help, love, or support. Instead of casting blame and presupposed views maybe instead we should be working to reach those on the fringe, the ones society forgets or willfully walks away from, those students who are tormented, those children who are abandoned, those people forgotten. Maybe instead of casting judgement we should cast concern, care, and love to others and seek to fix the problem at the root before it starts.

As for those who use violence as a resource for your so called "faith"...Shut it! Those who believe that you can proclaim that the shooting at Planned Parent Hood was an act of God's judgement or that this vile act saved lives, you are foolish and profane the very God you are claiming to serve. That is not love in the least bit. A true Christ follower would have gone down and helped those in need and served the widows and orphans. A true Christ follower would not belittle a woman seeking out an abortion but would ask her her name, to offer another option, and if she says no would not belittle her or cast slurs or Bible verses of condemnation upon her, but would instead call her their sister and let her know how much they love her and the life she carries.

All this to say: we have an obligation. An obligation to change our world. An obligation to turn from our violent ways. An obligation to protect life, not take it. An obligation to stand for truth, freedom, mercy, and grace. Imagine a world that our news stories glorified these aspects of society and humanity and not the killing and hurting of other people. What then? As a Christian, I have spiritual and moral obligation to do all I can to help end the hurt, pain, and violence that plagues this world. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and we cannot do that by pretending the problem doesn't exist, we cannot do that by becoming desensitized to the issues, we cannot do that by simply praying for the problem to end. We must change how we react, must change our interactions, simply put we must act. We must engage. We must show this world who Jesus is, how He values life, how He alone can bring healing, and how our world will only truly be healed once everyone has heard the name of Jesus and He returns to take us home.

Will you help change the world? Change isn't something I can make happen. But I can lead by example...the example Christ Himself set forth. I will love others regardless of race,gender, ethnicity, economic stance, sexual orientation, or religious views. I will seek to clothe and feed those who are orphaned, alone, and hungry. I will serve our public servants and politicians out of respect and a realization that their jobs are hard and thankless. I will not cave to the violence that we see but instead pray daily that God allows me to be a light in a dark place, a beacon on a hill, that proclaims love, grace, mercy, redemption, and transformation.

Will you help change the world?