I don’t know about you, but these last weeks, my emotional heart has undergone a tremendous workout. Though I have come to understand the mean, but justifiable cause behind the protests and riots happening across the United States, my mind cannot comprehend the violent looting, beatings, and even murders taking place in this, my beloved County.
Each day I utter a prayer as I turn on the TV, hoping for a word of peace, an olive branch of hope for an end to this devastation. Instead, my heart is ravaged once again, for the injustices brought forth and the desperately violent clashes from those hurting, as well as those seeking to destroy.
What started out as, what we now understand to be, a just and proven cause, voices and bodies standing up for what is right and humane, has spiraled downward into a mass of passion-filled and hate-laced destruction.
What in the world is going to stop this devastating madness?
My sister and I drove through Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, due to a family emergency the first week of June. As we traveled through larger cities, the reports of violence were terrifying and we prayed hard we wouldn’t have to stop. On the way home, through history rich, popular tourist areas, we wanted to stop for souvenirs and photos, but it was too dangerous to consider.
As we traveled, hearing of the destruction of businesses, homes and neighborhoods overwhelmed our hearts. The vandalism and destruction of national monuments and memorials tore my soul.
Historically, we are a Country rich in backbreaking sacrifice, labor and hard won battles for freedom and independence. Yes, good and bad. Future generations learn from the devastating mistakes as well as the hard fought sacrifices and victories of generations before them. This is the legacy we leave to those in future generations, and those we love.
Now, I wonder what, if anything will be left of our Country’s legacy to those future generations? In deed, what will be left of our personal legacy to our own families?
As my mind struggles to comprehend this level of willful, merciless destruction, my heart cries out, “What, in the name of all that is good, has happened to our democratic core value of peaceful protest while letting our voice be heard? What happened to the great value of respecting other people and their hard-earned property, even while disagreeing with them? What happened to our golden rule of loving your neighbor, even in times of deep distress?”
Yes, I get that for generations there has been a deep, despicable wrong perpetuating the minds of our people, and miserably, devastatingly, and inexcusably enacted upon a select beautiful but minority people.
Yes, I realize this has gone on and on. Year after year after generation after generation. Yes, even with those who this despicable harm was inflicted upon crying out, again and again, yet with so many deaf ears turned away. Yes, with truth covered over in our non-minority hearts. Yes. Yes.
This is, and has been wrong in every sense of the word. And I can’t begin to understand the magnitude of this worthy people’s suffering.
But what I can understand is that what we are doing is not the answer. This kind of angry, violent protest, rioting, and destruction of everything in sight is only causing more harm, pain, anger, and deaf ears. The idea that killing and de-funding police officers will “get our attention” or somehow avenge the wrongful deaths of others is furthering the injustice perpetuating our beloved Country.
And widening the already deep chasm between the non-minority ears and the distraught minority pain.
No, I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that somewhere, somehow, someone needs to make a difference, a real difference. And now. But how?
What I do know is that when we need to make a difference, we need to begin with ourselves. That’s me, that’s you. The first thing we need to do is admit the issue at hand is real. There is justifiable reason behind this protest. We, as a people have wronged, if only in a fleeting thought, the African American people. We need to realize this and make authentic change.
What does this entail?
As Christians, we are directed to confess our weaknesses, our wrong thoughts and behaviors. So, Christians, we must open our hearts and confess. Part of confession is asking God to show us where we have erred and then lead us in the right way. So we must open our eyes and ears and let Him show us and lead us to change and do what’s right.
We are also directed to stand up for the weak, for the widow, for the fatherless, and for injustice. So let us, as Christians, heartily stand up and let our voices be heard!
Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. Isaiah 1:17
But God’s Word is clear – let us not <sin> in our purpose. As devoted Christians, we are directed to exemplify the characteristics of Christ. Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And YES we can demonstrate effectively even while employing these worthy characteristics! In fact, our voices will be heard louder and carried farther upon these than any other. Because they are of God and are carried on the powerful wings of Justice and Truth.
God’s Word is also clear about continually seeking wisdom. (Try the book of Proverbs.) Wisdom being God’s Words of direction for our daily living. Today I have found myself drawn over and over to 1 Peter 4 and 5, which are short chapters on serving and suffering for God. They are packed with the exact direction we need as Christians today. Chapter 4, verse 15 particularly stood out to me:
“Let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or a meddler.” 1 Peter 4:15
This verse clearly tells us that violent riots, looting and stealing and destruction of property not belonging to us, harming and murdering others, including police, and the spreading of information that is not 100% true, is all WRONG, and as Christians, we should not be found participating in any of these.
This is our clear direction for today. Will it give a quick remedy for the devastation happening today? No. The wrongful, unfair, unchristian, belittling, painful, even fatal racist attitudes and behaviors we in America, and throughout the world have consciously and subconsciously participated in have been transpiring for hundreds of years. It will not be corrected overnight.
But we have to start somewhere, somehow, and this is the right place and way. It’s God’s way, who is the maker and creator of each of us, from every tribe, nation and tongue. This is the way according to his holy Word.
We must begin right here, right now this very minute, with a real change in each of our hearts, to love and be loving toward our fellow man. All our fellow man. To love as God loves, without respect to race, sex, social or economic status, etc. We must begin to employ and exemplify the characteristics of Christ, which are: Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Each of our conversations, decisions, plans, attitudes, expressions, reflexes, etc, must be undergird with these. Without these, we will continue to be a world of misunderstood intentions, wrongful attitudes, and hate-filled behaviors.
For without these, we are left to serve self first. When we are serving self first, all others’ needs pale and fade away. And that’s where elitism begins.
Let’s all take a stand right here, right now, cleanse our hearts and souls and make a firm commitment to love God and love people, the same way God loves us. Let’s undergird our hearts, minds, and lives with the Fruits of God’s Spirit, and commit to making a difference not only in our own hearts and lives, but also in those around us.
And in this way we shall truly begin to make a bright difference in the world!
Who is with me?
Let me hear your voice!
***If you click on the words written in a different color in the paragraphs, this will take you to Scripture references for those thoughts. ❤
Blessings and joy to you ~ Mindy