These days, when horrible things happen in the world, we also get to see the horrible things that go on inside the minds of others, thanks to social media and the modern convention of hyper-oversharing.
I’ve taken several steps back from social media in the past few years for that very reason. I've lost friends over gun control debates that were fueled on Facebook. With the recent news about race issues and the events that have occurred as a result of Mike Brown’s death and Tamir Rice’s death and Eric Garner’s death, I saw more and more ugly things from people who I otherwise like very much. The hardest part for me has been seeing that ugliness come from people who, like me, call themselves Christian.
This isn’t something new, we all know that people who call themselves Christian are often guilty of some of the ugliest, most un-Christlike behavior. It’s human. But lately….it’s been killing me inside that I have to be identified with them. It kills me inside that no Christians stand up and say “Hey, this is wrong!” It’s killed me inside seeing the complete and utter lack of compassion and empathy that has been poured out into the world. It makes me depressed and angry and scared to admit that I am a follower of Jesus.
I admit it’s gotten to me a lot, maybe too much. I’ve avoided church. I’ve quit Facebook. I’ve isolated myself more and more because it’s too much, it’s too ugly, it’s too overwhelming. All I can do is look at those pictures of those boys and think about them laying in the street for hours like a spectacle and their mothers……….oh my God, what their mothers must be going through. To know their baby just got murdered like an animal in the street and was treated with about that much respect? Those mothers. I just can’t even imagine. My heart breaks every day for these mamas, and I know my pain is a minute fraction of the pain they feel.
Anyways………..today I went for my walk at lunch and as I tend to do, I hooked myself up to the newest sermon from the Village Church. The title is Racial Reconciliation, you can find it on their website.
I braced myself when I opened my podcast list and saw that title. Matt Chandler sometimes says very very conservative (albeit Biblicaly sound) things that often make me bristle. I braced myself for his white-man take on the events of late.
What I came away with was a wave of relief so big that I found myself with tears running down my face walking around the perimeter of the State capital at lunch hour. I’m sure some of the people who saw me thought I was crazy.
I think EVERYONE should listen to this message….believer or not. But in case you don’t, let me give you the biggest take away I got from it:
As believers in the Gospel, we are bound to mourn with those who mourn. That is the way God made us. That is how God meant for us to behave with others. Period.
If you’re inclination is to throw out facts, to run from the empathy that God created within you……..you are sinning.
It is a sin to condemn the mourning.
And I’m going to take this a step further than Matt Chandler did. Here is my interpretation of the Word;
When you post #SupportOfficerWilson or links to “Blue Lives Matter” rallies or talk about how “Well, Mike Brown shouldn’t have stolen those cigarettes” you are sinning. You are acting against the Gospel.
Maybe you aren’t a believer, so that is meaningless to you. But...if you are a believer…….take a minute next time this comes up. Take a minute next time you want to post some inflammatory hashtag or link or an article…..who’s message are you furthering? What example of God’s grace and mercy are you showing?
Matt Chandler talks about how we had a chance when all this happened…..and we blew it, big time. And I agree. America will surely be shown to be on the wrong side of history once again when our great grandchildren look back on this embarrassing chapter in history. What’s honestly so upsetting to me is how many people who claim to love Jesus will be on the wrong side of history. I don’t understand how someone can read the Bible and want to follow it…….and treat other humans so horribly. I know, I know…it happens all the time. I maybe will never understand it.
As hippy/new agey as it sounds…..we are ALL created in His image. So let’s treat each other like it.
If you are a Christian and if this strikes a chord with you, pray for God to soften your heart. And pray for God to heal the hearts of those families who have lost someone unjustly. And ask God to heal our country, because I really believe that only He is capable of fixing this mess.