I’ve heard a lot of people saying lately that the world is falling apart. I must admit that I, myself, have said at times that it feels like it’s all falling apart and we’re helpless to do anything to stop it. On one level that is true. I can’t fly to North Korea and convince Kim Jong Un to stop firing ballistic missiles towards South Korea. Nor can I find men, bent on evil and reason with them change their minds. Of course, I can and do pray. There is power in prayer, and I believe our collective prayers have stopped many plans of evil before they’ve unfolded. Still, with the current state of the world, we often walk through our days braced for the next evil event to unfold and that leaves us feeling helpless doesn’t it? Where do we go from here?
Where Do We Go From Here?
I believe there is a solution. Choosing to love others, brings strength to weary spirits and hearts. It restores hope. It counteracts the oppression of hate. Love dismantles evil’s grip and sets right what it intended to destroy. The type of love I’m talking about however, is a sacrificial love that goes far deeper than the surface. It requires depth of thought, courage, grace, mercy and a stretching beyond ones comfort zone. This type of love demands that you do more listening than talking, more seeing than pointing the finger and embracing instead of rejecting. This type of love involves casting down stereotypes, judgements and preconceived notions and instead choosing to love with Christ’s everlasting love. Mother Teresa wisely once said,
Man’s greatest sin is not hatred, but indifference to one’s brothers.
How right she was.
As a white American, I’ve found it’s just too easy to live life disconnected – indifferent – from the suffering of those who are ethnically diverse from me. If I’m totally honest, living in a predominately white city, in a predominately white neighborhood it is really easy for me to disconnect from any issues that others may experience . Historically it’s been easy for me to drive around in my nice car with my blue-eyed, fair-skinned kids and think things aren’t that bad. It’s been easy for me to turn on the TV and watch protests and develop a judgmental attitude towards people who look and sound differently than I do. Why? Because I was indifferent to them. Horrifically, shamefully and utterly indifferent.
Friends, authentic love (the love Christ demonstrated and calls us to) says we cannot be indifferent. It calls us to a higher standard. It calls us out of our neighborhoods to the hurting to the grieving. It calls us to those like Cameron Sterling who openly sobbed after he lost his father who was tragically shot and killed by police recently.
When we see a child cry as Cameron did, our hearts should burst in pain with his. If we aren’t moved by his pain, we should stop and ask why? We should weep with him and be compelled to love more because of him and his sorrow.
Love calls us to those like Police Chief David Brown and all the Dallas Police officers who were recently impacted by the senseless sniper attack. We should weep with them and their families and be compelled to love more because of them and their sorrow.
Love calls us to those who are like us and those who are not. It beckons us to rise up above prejudice, beyond fear, to go deeper and wider than we ever dreamed but when we do that, it brings the astounding hope of Romans 11:21.
21 Do not be overcome and conquered by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 11:21
Friends, when we as a society choose hatred over love even simple things turn ugly. For example, a little over a week ago I created the below visual and posted it on my Facebook page.In a matter of minutes I received several very angry emails from people who hated what I said. Angry isn’t even a fair description. Hate filled, overwhelming and pure evil emails came my way. Threats filled the pages that I read. Friends, it is ok to disagree. It is ok to have dialogue and debate. We must though, stop the hate. We must turn our hearts towards love. We must turn to compassion. We must find the very heart of Christ in the midst of our disagreements. Instead of tearing apart, it is time to pull together. It is time to conquer evil with Christ’s abounding good. We can do this – by His grace and through His mercy.
So, where do we go from here? I think that’s obvious. We choose love on a conscious level. We search out opportunities in our communities to be involved with people who are like us — and people who are not. As we do, we must stay humble. When we are humble, are hearts are open and the opportunity to learn from others, blossoms. I know we can learn a lot from those who have different backgrounds, different skin colors and different life experiences. What a mighty, love-filled, inspiring world this could be if we all led with Christ’s love. I’m in, how about you?