A few summers ago, as I was packing my family for vacation, there was news of a mass shooting in Orlando. I penned my thoughts on the conversation that followed.
This week, Las Vegas.
As I continue to process this tragedy with my family, I am reposting my thoughts, as they seem yet again relevant.
I long for the day that I don’t need to repost this.
I hope this helps you process as well.
Our world is in utter disarray and my heart is heavy. I don’t want to sweep things under the rug while we continue living our sheltered little lives, ignoring the chaos ensuing literally right in front of us. It just does not feel right.
So I called a family meeting.
I asked my kiddos what they knew about, “Things going on in the news.”
Their answers varied. ( back in 2015)
“Cops killing black people.”
“Black people killing cops.”
“Mass shootings of gay people.”
“Mass shootings in general.”
“Crazy political candidates.”
My children are 17,15,11, and 10. They know the facts, but do they really know how to make sense of it all? I started by reminding them that they are privileged to live their lives the way they do here in America, “land of the free and home of the brave”, and that they are blessed to be healthy and vibrant and gifted and talented. With tears in my eyes I pleaded with them to do something worthwhile with their lives. Help someone less fortunate, care for the hurting and broken, and make the world a better place. We have awesome kiddos who will inherit this earth. They are leaders and I want them to know how to lead peoples’ hearts, not just teams or companies.
Whenever life seems to make no sense, I look to the Word of God. It is my owners manual, if you will, where I turn when I am forced to fly by my instruments.
I tell my children this:
Jesus is alive and well and God is on the throne, but here on this earth we have an enemy.
If we, as Christians, believe in God and Jesus, we then also must be aware that there is a real enemy who means us harm.The Bible says
1 Peter 5:7-9 Your enemy the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour:
Not only that, but:
The hearts of men (humans) are deceitful and sick.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?
Why then are we surprised when evil people do evil things.
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial that has come upon you, as though something strange were happening to you. What we see is shocking and sad but should not surprise us given the condition of things here on earth.
But it is still not right! We can learn from scripture how to respond.
Do not return evil for evil
This has been my mantra in this house as long as I can remember toddlers fighting and seeking justice against one another.
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This side of heaven there will always be good and bad. But in the end… Good always wins…. God always wins.The wheat and the weeds grow together:
Matthew 13:24-30 Yes, there is bad stuff babies…. but yes, there is good too! We will trust God to sort it out. Maybe we should start watching the 700 club (uplifting Christian news) once in awhile and see some good going on instead.
Although we have natural enemies we should focus on the spiritual battle going on around us and fight on with prayer and faith and winning the hearts of men through love.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
In the meantime we shall dwell on the good things so as not to lose hope:
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think on these things. Whatever you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, put these things into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
We have got to live by this or all the bad new will depress us and deflate our spirits as we become hopeless. then we are no good to anyone.
Check out Ann Voskamp’s weekend blog, “Only the Good Stuff” … it is so fun to read!
Love your enemies:
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
This passage really spoke to my 10 year old son who said, “I see what you are saying mom.” and then preached a little mini sermon right there in the family room on how to turn the other cheek and love your neighbor. We will now refer to him as “Pastor Dave.”
They will know us by our love:
A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another.
My oldest daughter has a saying in our house when things get chaotic, she says
“ No hate….. only love!” Then she makes the iconic heart with her hands and it diffuses the unrest. She is a peacemaker even if only in a small way. It’s in her.
Be peace makers
Romans 12:18 “As long as it depends on me live at peace with everybody”
For as long as I can remember I have been chanting this and making my family memorize this passage of scripture. It is on my walls and on a candle and in our hearts. Imagine if everyone of us lived like this.The family meeting went long but I could feel the coin dropping a bit and the presence of the Lord thick in my family room. We had bags still to pack and a plane to catch but things felt better now so I recapped.
We are aware there are spiritual and earthy enemies
We must fight in the spirit
We must love and not retaliate with evil
We must retaliate with love
WE MUST LOVE
We must trust God to sort it out
There is still good to dwell on
and joy to be found
Be Peacemakers and Peace seekers
Please! Please! Please! Do something impactful and good with this fabulous life of yours! Extend a hand, bridge a gap, reach back and help someone, stand up and teach someone, wait for someone. Cheer people up and on. But be a peace seeker going the extra mile and loving others well. It is the difference we need to make. It starts with us.