Originally published Sunday, 17 July 2016.
When bad incidents happen we ask the question "why?". We don’t understand the shocking events which have happened of late and we try to impose order. Humans want life to make sense. After the initial shock, it leaves us wondering “What will happen next and will I be the next victim?”
Our nation is grieving. Webster’s dictionary defines grief as a “deep sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death.” For many families, and the public as a whole, the idea of security is once again threatened at every turn. Many communities have lost leaders, fathers, grandfathers and those lives will never be heard from again.
And it’s left us confused, angry, and feeling threatened.
Grief is compounded when the death is violent, untimely, and sudden. When there is a willful or intentional taking of a human life by another individual, the sense of shock and disbelief is suffocating. Our world as we know it is shaken to its core, and our sense of safety and security vanish. Oftentimes, overwhelmed by grief, confusion, and in a vacuum of comfort, leaves us to fear.
Grief is amplified when the death is a highly publicized incident. The media gives a doom and gloom perspective pressurizing the nation’s voice to protect ourselves or take matters into our own hands. We are barraged with blame and shame leaving us to choose sides questioning who “matters” thus dividing lines with hate. Nothing makes sense. The results are impacting our hope and ebbs away at our faith. Turmoil and anxiety builds with each look over the shoulder or behind each closed door.
The brute force of many layered and competing emotions mount. Feelings of anger, fear, confusion, exhaustion, sadness, and depression is intensified by grief. As onlookers, we shut down and feel numb. We throw up our hands and don’t know who to trust or what to do to repair these death-laden and devastatingly dangerous situations. I understand death alright but what do we do with all of the death and progression of evil around us?
Like most wounds it scars our souls and we stop talking about it. It becomes the white elephant in the room and we are afraid to stand up for our beliefs as to not offend or start another heated argument. It paralyzes our voices and keeps us quiet. But the pain of loss is still there and we stuff it down deep. It festers, boils and wreaks havoc with our sound minds. We openly pray for healing but there’s no joy in covering hurt of this kind. The world’s empty words of comfort and feelings of false security become a new normal along with a strategically-placed policy.
Pointing the finger at the obvious won’t heal the pain this nation is in.
Healing takes time and it needs to fall on everyone. In my opinion there is only one way to win over evil. We want the pain to cease but as a nation, it’s easier to turn our heads and hope someone quickly sweeps it under the political rug to make it go away like a bad nightmare. This tug on our souls has to stop or fear will always be after our hearts.
If you have been affected by the recent events please know I too am grieving with you. Words only travel so far and words alone don’t cause change. No, you don’t forget the sound of your loved one’s voice, or a touch, and you certainly can’t forget the love you shared. There’s no way to repair a broken heart from a human standpoint.
I wish there were shortcuts to healing. But the facts remain, the fast-track to evil advances around us. There is the power to heal our nation within the nation if we could all work together to be the answer for change we only complain about. How often do we find ourselves asking “What are we do with all this violence?”
The answer is profound and comforting when we respond with an outpouring of love and count it all joy. Jesus was a man of controversy, stood for justice and showed love to all. You might say, “Sure, He could because He was perfect.” You've tried being kind in the face of evil and it wasn’t reciprocated. You've tried to love the unlovable and got taken advantage of. You're afraid to give this love thing a try at all. Have we loved and have you only tried?
Jesus is our example to heal this nation. He didn’t judge - only touched with His grace. He didn’t beat politics with the rules - but spoke life over the wayward. He didn’t run away in fear but knew His Father’s voice. He met the needs of the unloved, the forgotten, and went out of His way to reach the least. And He counted it ALL joy in who He loved. Joy was His reward on the way to the cross. He suffered and knew death.
“Instead of what doing what Jesus did, let’s do what Jesus is doing!” Mike Maeshiro
Let time teach you to love and have joy again if you are suffering a loss. Let the love of God overcome the evil around you. Let the love of God change you. Be Christ’s love to others around you. Show love over evil. Start counting everything in your life with a reward of joy, and set it before you. Afraid to show love because you’ve been hurt? Who isn’t???
God’s love heals in ways we don’t know and kindness progresses healing further than we could ever know. Jesus led His disciples by the love of God and knew how to do in a ways which advance God’s goodness. Jesus in it to win it and He has already won! We can feel secure in our homes and lives of if we would all work together to be the together-strength of love spoken in truth and in love to our communities, cities, and nation. The progression of LOVE always invites God’s goodness. His Joy is our joy reward for the suffering even unto and through to death.