Right now the media is trying to figure out if the most recent mass shooting in California was workplace violence or “radical Islamic terrorism” as we are demanded to call it by the conservatives. It’s time to ban guns! yell the liberals.
We are determined to say this issue was about THIS or that issue was about THAT. Then everyone brings up examples of how:
not all Muslims are terrorist
and how not all cops are racist
and how not all gun owners are murdering criminals.
We share article after article and hunt for ways in which the OTHER side has broken their own rules. Look at the Ku Klux Klan I guess we should generalize all Christians by that terrorist group! Or see the Boston Bombers came in as pseudo-refugees that must mean that ALL the THOUSANDS of refugees are trying to kill America.
“Black Lives Matter” no! “All Lives Matter.”
This has been the dominant media coverage of the last two years.
Let’s get one thing super clear:
It doesn’t matter if it was work place violence or “terrorism.”
We are so quick to see if we can keep blaming Muslims or if “SEE it’s not just them!” Last week people got excited that an anti-abortion viewing man went after Planned Parenthood. Because “finally it broke a mold.”
The attitude by many left-leaning individuals was “hahaha we finally got you crazy Christians.”
Let’s get another thing super clear:
It’s not about whose side is more evil. That doesn’t matter at all and it doesn’t solve anything.
Arguing about Muslims being worse than Christians doesn’t solve the problem. Arguing about “Blacks killing more blacks than white people” doesn’t solve the problem. Arguing about every word our President said or if Donald Trump is the worst candidate to ever run for office doesn’t solve anything.
Because what these comparative discussions do is they divide us. We start looking for ALL the ways in which Obama has reacted against my political views. We start looking and hunting for ways in which that race did this and that race did that to prove our points. Or “this incident was stopped by a gun owner” or “OH YEAH well in this incident they legally purchased their guns.”
This way of discussion leads us to only see the negative. And the negative fuels our opinions against others robbing us from seeing the good these people groups and beliefs achieve. You overlook Obama’s heart for victims and the lower class. Or the Muslim girl who stood up against radicals to bring education to women in her society by use of her faith.
We are training our opinions to oversee the brightness shining from those different than us.
I’m going to use the word God here and I ask that you bear with me.
Whether you believe in God or not I have this to say of my belief.
I believe God works in a way that takes brokenness and makes it good. He defeats evil by taking both the good and the bad and making it good and beautiful.
I think people are are called to do the same. Should we desire to end all wrong? Yes. But that isn’t the reality of our world. It’s not the truth of this life.
This world is broken. Religious cultures everywhere accept this fact. The planet we live on, the life we live is not perfect.
You could ask why not? If there’s pain there mustn’t be a god.
Think about the moments in your life that most developed who you are today. Many of those moments are probably things you wouldn’t wish on others. And yet you somehow came out on top and stronger.
If you were training your child to be obedient what we he ever learn if he never had a choice to disobey you. If you demanded the love of your child every second of his life would he love you? Actually? Would you consider it real love?
No there’s freedom in that relationship. The over-protected children are shielded from development and life. Yet you guide them. You set example for them to save them from mistakes that you experienced. And you get to share these lessons because you lived them and grew from them. Because someone extended freedom to you as well.
Okay theology over. (kinda)
So rather than a reality without choice and freedom. We have one where disobedience is allowed to bring beauty to obedience. Where hatred is allowed to bring beauty to love. Where sickness is allowed to bring beauty to health. Where death is allowed to bring beauty to life.
What we see is that God brings order out of chaos. He creates beauty out of brokenness. Rather than prohibit pain and stop what people call The Devil or Satan, or Evil, he takes this evil and defeats it by making it beautiful.
Whether you believe in God or not I ask that you engage in that idea.
Place goodness to those who have been wronged. Place hope into the hearts of those who have lost. Love the ones who get blanketed in the hatred of those who misrepresent them.
Quit blanketing others as like you or not. Don’t speak without understanding. Don’t react before you have the facts. And don’t get caught up in the divisiveness of the world. It’s evil’s greatest root. Moving people against each other towards an ultimate loneliness that so frequently has reacted in violence.
It’s not about this or that ALL the time. Often times is much grander. It’s not about stances but action.
A Catholic nun put it into these terms.
“I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”
To her the issue of life is bigger than simply being born. But rather we shepherd life from start to finish.
We allow people to sway us so strongly that we don’t see the ways we confine the problems because we are so caught up in who is right and who is wrong. And who is against my party’s platform.
The problem is darkness. It’s everywhere stirring us against one another. Teaching us that the only lives that matter are the ones like us. The ones that believe like us. Behave like us.
Jesus taught that hating a brother or sister was committing murder in your heart.
Buying into division makes you a spiritual mass murderer. It makes you a spiritual terrorist.
Division in this life is darkness.
Be a light to this world. Shine into the pain of the world.
It’s the method of God, and it’s the calling of his people. Bring light into darkness. Defeat evil not by labels, or politics, but with love.
Division is darkness.
But love is unity.
Unity is the will of God.
Unity is the light.
Don’t just see the darkness.
Train your eyes to see the light that resides in everyone.
If you think there is no light, well then shine it into them.
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.