Once again, I had a humorous, light-hearted blog post ready to go, but then another national tragedy occurred, and it doesn’t seem like the time for humor. Maybe next week we’ll be ready to laugh again. For now, my heart is heavy for the people affected by the Las Vegas shooting and our nation as a whole. As I write this, there is no clear reason for the attack, no statement being made, no cause to call attention to, no particular group of people targeted. It was just evil unleashed on innocent people who happened to be where he was.
I’ve seen Facebook posts ranging from heartbroken to furious to absurd. It seems those reactions represent the feelings of many Americans regarding current events: politics, natural disasters, sports, climate change, and even Hugh Heffner. I have a feeling that most Americans are more balanced and less vocal than the ones making all the noise. Maybe I just hate to think that our nation is really as divided as it appears in the media.
I was so encouraged in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, seeing Americans of all races, religions, and political persuasions helping and bringing relief to the those affected. But then football season started, and here we go again. Is it right to stand, kneel, sit, or remain in the locker room for the national anthem?
We are a funny bunch of people who can go so quickly from loving each other, putting aside our differences to help one another, to raging against one another over some pretty trivial issues. That may raise the ire of some of you – disrespecting the flag is not trivial. Compared to loving or hating your fellow Americans, it is. One of the most frustrating things about this country is our right to free speech. I’ll just leave that here for you to interpret however you want.
I have strong opinions on all of the things I mentioned as current events. But I’m not going to share them here. Of course, I think my opinions are right. Why would I have them if they weren’t? But getting my opinions out among the throng of voices will only start or fuel arguments. I’m not interested in arguing. Sure, I think I could win the arguments, but that’s not what I am called to do.
As a Christian, I am called to love you. That right, you. Because if you’re a brother or sister in Christ, I am to love you. If you are a neighbor, I am to love you. If you are a family member, I am to love you. If you are my enemy, I am to love you. If you stand, kneel, sit, or are a no show, I am to love you.
Loving you means not arguing but listening to you, even if you won’t listen to me. It means putting your needs before mine. It means praying for you – not that you would change your mind, but that God would bless you (which may include changing, but that’s up to Him).
I wish I could say that things will get better. But, unfortunately, I think evil will not just continue but will grow. The worst is yet to come. “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:12-13)
But as for me, I commit to go on loving others because God’s Word tells me that “so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18) And I will continue to pray for peace in our nation, and specifically today, for those so horribly affected by evil.