Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times
How do I respond to the horrific, senseless violence that is sweeping the world?
Is it getting worse, or do I just hear about it more frequently because of the 24/7 media coverage that sends an unending stream of information and images from throughout the world?
How do I help my children and grandchildren process these events without causing them to live crippled by fear?
- the killing of police officers in Dallas
- the shooting of unarmed black youth in several US cities
- the massacre of 41 innocent civilians in Turkey
- the gunning down of 49 people in a night club in Orlando
- 14 are shot dead in San Bernardino, California
and yet more personal …
- the senseless murder of a dear young mother’s husband in Atlanta
This lovely young woman, a long time friend of our family, has been working tirelessly to eradicate human trafficking as an Assistant to the Attorney General of Georgia. She is now faced with raising her precious little girl without the loving support of a father.
I must respond with genuine concern and compassion to all those involved.
Jesus did that.
Right before he was crucified, on the Mount of Olives, Roman soldiers (the despised oppressors of the Jews in Jerusalem) approached Jesus to arrest him. Peter responded with violence – cutting off the ear of the High Priest’s servant.
Mark 22:51 – But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
NO MORE OF THIS!
Our response to the violence and suffering around us must be an example to our children and grandchildren.
No more of this. We are brokenhearted.
If we – for one moment – we think “maybe they deserved this” we are WRONG!
We MUST respond with compassion. If we do not feel compassion for the those shot and their suffering loved ones, regardless of the situation, we must repent.
Psalm 34:18-19 (NLT)
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
19 The righteous person faces many troubles,
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
Our children and grandchildren will form their understanding of suffering from the way they hear and see us respond.
- if we express fear – they will fear
- if we express hatred – they will learn to hate
- if we seek revenge – they will seek revenge
- if we express compassion – they will learn compassion
- if we trust God for justice – they will learn to trust God
I heard an inspiring message Sunday from Rev. Reggie Screen of Atlanta. This Godly black man challenged us to have compassionate hearts in light of the violence all around us. He challenged us to be like Jesus. Reggie encouraged us that as things are darkest – the light of Jesus shines brightest.
We must be brokenhearted like Jesus.
We must have compassion.
We must love others and demonstrate that love at every opportunity.
We must seek justice and love mercy.
Oh, God, heal our land….