In the wake of the most recent horrific and senseless shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, in addition to countless others, my heart breaks for our nation.
My heart breaks because these acts of terroristic violence create fear and cut short the lives of beautiful, innocent people. People who are sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends, and future world-changers -- people who bear the image of God.
My heart breaks even at the thought of these acts being racially motivated. We must reject and renounce all forms of racially driven violence and any hint of white nationalism. It has no place in the Church, our nation, or the world.
My heart breaks for our country because it seems as though our culture compels us to immediately cast blame for the reasons for evil, and this pattern of blaming others spirals into division. We know that a divided house cannot stand.
Though it’s easy to stay frozen in what we can’t do, let’s think about what we can do.
May our words of hope and actions of love be a bright light in this dark world.
Jesus called his followers to be salt and light. How can we be salt and light to make a difference?
- We can commit to praying for our nation. I hear people say that thoughts and prayers do nothing, but I strongly disagree. Only God can transform the human heart, and when we pray, our words touch heaven and change the earth. Prayer is how we turn to God, asking him to intervene. And the Bible is clear -- God responds to cries for help (Psalm 34:6; Psalm 145:18-19). Ask God to transform the heart of every person in our nation to accept and not reject him. Pray that people would surrender their own desires and choose to love one another as Christ loved us. Pray that our elected officials would seek God for wisdom and work together to enact laws that align with the moral code given in scripture.
- We can stand against racism and stand up for the marginalized by upholding the sacredness of human life. God loves every single person, pursues every single person, and has a purpose for every single person -- no matter the color of their skin, their nationality, or identity. We should love one another just as our savior Jesus loved us and gave his life for us.
- We can thank God for first responders and personally thank them for their service. When tragedy happens, look for the brave men and women who run toward chaos to help while others are running away. Thank God for law enforcement and emergency workers, pray for their strength, and express your gratitude for them when you see them.
We can be -- and should be -- the light of hope. Out of these ashes, hope will rise. May our words of hope and actions of love be a bright light in this dark world.
As Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”