Wednesday, October 4, 2017

How do we respond to such Evil?

The tragedy of the Las Vegas shooting cannot be understated.  The horrible and unimaginable evil demonstrated in the act of mass murder is shocking and frightening.  And while this act seems almost a climax to a series of tragedies with hurricanes and terrorist acts and threats of war, etc. etc., how are we as Christ followers supposed to live in such days?  What should be my daily attitude and countenance?  How does Jesus want me to live?

In the famous story of Lazarus' death in the book of John (ch.11) we see Jesus arrive on the seen and "Jesus wept."  Jesus felt anger and pain and sorrow at the sin and tragedy of sickness and death and the pain it caused those He loved.  He allowed Himself to touch and feel the emotion and pain, and He allowed others to see Him touch what they felt.  

As His followers, we must do the same.  We must first show empathy.

Showing empathy and compassion to those around us who are afraid and especially to those who have been victims of tragedy is critical.  We must validate their pain and help them see that we know their circumstances are real and that their sorrow and fears are not trivial.  The quickest way to shut the door between us and those we are trying to comfort and help is to tell them to just "suck it up" and that "it's not that big a deal."  Jesus did not do this!  

Jesus met people in their pain and never condemned them for feeling it, or even trivialized their suffering.  He did what He could to SOLVE it, by healing or providing or giving truth and love.  He rebuked those that were hurting others and attacked the religious leaders oppressing the people.  So we must do what we can to help those around us.

But we must carry a posture of hope!

In the book of John 14 in Jesus' final discourse to His disciples He tells them twice "Do not let your hearts be troubled."  He says it like this:

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me." (John 14:1)
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27)

I have often looked at this as a suggestion, but I realize for the Christ follower, this is a COMMAND.

Jesus commands us: You must not fall into discouragement.

Do we understand how important this is?  Our world is descending into great darkness and chaos, but we we have the hope of eternity, and we have a King who tells us He has overcome the world!  We have promises that Satan is defeated and that in the end WE WIN.  We must be salt & light, we must be banners of hope to those around us!

Do we live like lights, or do we just carry the despair around us?

We must move past despair and into hope.  We are the missionaries Jesus has sent into the world to carry His light.  Are we doing that?

Yes, the world will get worse, but YOUR WORLD DOESN'T HAVE TO.

In the Lord's prayer, Jesus commanded us to pray to our Father, "Your  Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."  Jesus wasn't saying that as an idealistic prayer that we should pray just to get us to focus on God.  He was encouraging us that God's Kingdom CAN COME in our midst!  It can be HERE!  In me, and in you and even in our community and city and area!  

Are we carrying that hope as a reality in our lives, or are we quaking with fear like the world that does not understand the love we have been shown in Jesus?

Today, let's resolve to show empathy and validate the fear and pain around us.  Let's do what we can to help people.  But let's not take up discouragement and despair.  Let's fiercely believe that our Father desires for His Kingdom to come in our midst, and in those around us, and let's be messengers of hope!

Let His Kingdom come in us today!


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