After last week, I’ve been searching for something that would just make me feel better about all that happened. I’ve tried to find peace inside of justice, which has led me to try and figure out what justice looks like in these circumstances. To be completely honest, I don’t know what justice is right now. The fact of the matter is that seven people were killed last week, and that is not reversible.
In trying to feel better, I find myself turning off thoughts that lead me to confronting what happened. If I can just grow a little numb to the situation, I won’t have to deal with it. I won’t have to ask myself how I can make a difference. Being a white person with no actual ties to the people directly affected by last week’s events is a readily available scapegoat found at my disposal. I don’t have to worry about this.
How incredibly calloused. But, sadly, that is the reality of my situation, and that is the deceiving luxury that would lead me to a hardened, blind heart. How we see others, regardless of differences, reflects how we see Christ. Chapter 4 of 1 John points out that love is from God and, if we know him, then we are able to love others. Because of him, because of bearing his likeness and having a relationship with him, we are given the grace it takes to love one another. This means we are continually called to engage with the lost and engage with those who are hurting. There should be a yearning to follow Christ into those depths.
It is so easy to write about and to encourage other people to do this, even though I find myself shying away from the opportunities to engage with people who are different from me. I tell myself that our many differences would render my words useless, when that is really just an excuse to stay inside my comfort zone. But the truest thing about any one person is that they are loved, known, and cared for by God. That they are his, created with intention, and designed in his image. That Christ came to save them. That is our identity. Because that is true for every person, we share an incredible amount of common ground.
And because Christ’s love compels us (2 Corinthians 5:14), we are called to meet people in their mourning and anger. We are called to meet them in their disbelief and their anxiety. We are called to love them and point them to Christ.
There will be fear in walking into the things God calls us to. But His love is perfect, and when we remind ourselves of that perfect love, fear is cast out (1 John 4:18). My prayer is that we would not let ourselves grow numb to the lives around us. That we wouldn’t let our pride tell us that the lost and hurt don’t deserve our help and prayer. That we would seek out the lost the same way the Lord seeks out our hearts. I pray that we would understand the sanctity of life as God’s creation, and that every life lost is a tragedy. I pray we would let the perfect love of God rid us of fear and compel us to act in love.