This morning, MTR and I watched the news and learned about Dallas. One day after learning about Philando Castile. Two days after learning about Alton Sterling.
I was standing, watching. My mouth was agape*. I was in shock, and so confused and hurt. I had to walk away, and a few minutes later, I was crying in our closet, MTR praying over us and over our world. For Jesus to show us how to love and how to love through the hate. I just wept.
I have too many thoughts and too many feelings, but since I am a verbal processor, I’d like to try and get some of it out of my head.
I wish I had good news. But the only good news here is Jesus. I think about the evil in our world, and know that this will not be resolved until Jesus comes. There are many days when I am confused why He hasn’t come yet. I would’ve–but that’s why I’m not God.
Here are some thoughts:
- Black lives matter. This will not change. We must acknowledge institutional racism for what it is. We have to humble ourselves and see how we’ve added to the problem, even if unknowingly.
- Blue lives matter. This also will not change. I’ve seen a lot lately about “all lives matter,” and yes, that is true, because we are all made in the image of our Creator. But when we make statements like that, we minimize the issue. We cover it up because it makes us uncomfortable. So let’s call it what it is. Black lives matter because hatred and bigotry and racism has caused this violence to happen. Statistically, more black males are in prison. But let’s be truthful when we answer this question: Are more black males in prison because they commit more crimes? Or are more black males in prison because of stereotypes and racism and profiling? That hurts to answer, right? Blue lives matter because retaliation is not okay. Grouping cops into a collective mass of black-hating murderers is doing THE SAME THING that we are trying not to do with blacks. Such narrow-mindedness is what led us here.
- Prayer matters. It’s easy to think that saying a prayer and asking God for help is futile. And that is exactly what the Enemy wants us to think. One of the most powerful things I’ve read is from C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. Screwtape, a minion for the Enemy, shares this, “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts…” Let us not be so idle to betray Hope. And when we are confused and don’t know what to pray for, “If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.” (Romans 8:26, MSG)
- Love matters. May we not see these types of violence and think that all cops or evil, or that all blacks are evil. That type of thinking is what got us into this mess. God calls us to do TWO things: Love God, and love our neighbor as we love God. That’s it. The first part is easy, the second part is hard. Especially when we know “neighbor” to mean literally anyone other than us. We need to LOVE our black friends. We need to LOVE our police force. We need to LOVE those who are confused and don’t do either of those two things. One of my first reactions after hearing the news this morning was “Do NOT get on Facebook.” Because I knew that amongst the pain and grieving, I’d find hate. More vicious, disgusting, spewing hate. And I was scared that I would go off on them. That I’d call them what they were, and yell at them and use hateful words. And quite frankly, I still want to do that. But that does NOT help. That draws a deeper line in the sand. And if we continue drawing lines, we will have more violence. That’s history, folks. So, show up. Say kind words. Don’t voice hate. Let’s ONLY show up with love in our hearts. As hard as it is, let’s let go of anger. Let’s let go of retaliation. Let’s only show God’s love…for after all, He is the ultimate Judge. We add nothing to our lives or the lives of others through hatred.
My heart hurts equally for the wives/girlfriends/daughters/sons of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the five officers shot dead. The pain is equal. May we all feel that way.
* Agape…how interesting that my mouth was agape. “Open wide, especially with surprise or wonder” is how it’s defined. But if you type in those five letters… A-G-A-P-E, how interesting that you see clearly that it is the same word as LOVE. Agape, or “Christian love.” “Unselfish love.” or, the best one: “The love of God or Christ for humankind.” My mouth was agape, open. And when we are stunned into silence like I was this morning, the only thing that has room is Christ’s love–agape. How hauntingly beautiful.