I was deeply saddened by the events that have occurred over the past week. First, I am heartbroken over the brutal murder of George Floyd. To once again have an officer who has sworn to serve and protect the public act in a manner that is criminal with the end result being the horrific killing of one of our citizens. I am heartbroken for his family, friends, and others who feel less safe today as a result of this killing. Everything about this is tragic and wrong.
I am also saddened by protests gone awry that become riotous rampages in cities around our country. I know that we are all susceptible to the adrenal surge that prompts a “fight or flight,” response. As a man, I know that I feel much more empowered and strong when I got the “fight” route. Flight can make us feel weak. So, I understand why the anger is manifesting in this way. Still, I know that there is another way. Through Jesus man was given an avenue beyond the constraints of our adrenal glands. This way was the way of love. I want to share words from some men who chose this much more vulnerable yet noble route. I’ll start with Jesus of Nazareth.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matt. 5:43-48
Next, Paul the Apostle.
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 [b]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Cor. 13:4-7
“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”
“Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility.”
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”
“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.”
All of these speak of how believers are to be revolutionary. Love is revolutionary. Still, I can list just as many quotes about how standing by when evil is perpetrated is unacceptable. Dr. King also said the following:
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.”
Finally, King Solomon, widely regarded as the wisest man to ever live, said the following:
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
9 Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice. Proverbs 31:8-9
Our nation needs healing. We, the church, need to be leading the way. What can we do? Pray. Yes, pray. What else? Speak truth. Root out racism, bigotry, prejudice, and hate, and speak love into these circumstances. How do we do this? I encourage us all to talk to each other. Pray together. Let’s ask God to show how we can make a difference like the men quoted above did through love.
Each day we go into the world with the opportunity to make an impact. Each person whose paths cross ours matters. Lives intersect for a reason. I believe there is One who directs our steps to these sometimes seemingly random meetings. My goal for these encounters is that I make a difference. That is my desire for those who venture across my blog. I hope you are blessed and it makes a difference for you.