Last night, after spending a beautiful evening with my husband celebrating our upcoming anniversary, our happiness turned to sadness when we learned of the police shootings in Dallas.
My eyes were fixed to the TV and my heart was crushed. This is not the first time. This has happened every single time breaking news of a tragic, violent event crosses the air waves. This has happened far too often in the last few weeks. How does this happen? Why does it keep happening? What are we doing wrong? When will this stop?
It’s so easy for us to jump on social media and give our two cents to such events. It’s easy to be armchair cops or blacks or whites or gays or men or women or Christians or Muslims. We brashly type out a message full of angst, vindication, and told-you-so’s feeling justified in our serves-them-right, 140+ characters. We make judgments based mostly on our personal experiences and little detail (breaking detail) of what has just happened. I, too, have thoughts that seem like relevant explanations but choose to remain silent in the emotionally charged aftermath.
I can’t help but think we are all so hungry for validation, equity, understanding and love that we find our “voice” or our “people” through sensational means, through channels easily accessed with social media and the Internet. We find commonality with others and feed our need for relevance and purpose. But what happens, it seems, is that we have become more isolated, more segregated. Instead of informing and educating and supporting others, we become defensive and arrogant. We demand respect whether it should be given or not. We have to prove ourselves to the world. There is “proof” of good cops and “proof” of bad. “Proof” of racism and “proof” of homophobia. “Proof” of Christian and Islamic hate and “proof” of righteous Christians and Muslims. But what we lack is proof of conversation, healing and grace. And, I remain silent.
It’s hard to make sense of it all. I am scared. Scared for the future we are making for our children. I am saddened. Sad that, now, I look at everyone through a lens of distrust. I am paranoid. Afraid that the person next to me isn’t trustworthy; that something I do could cause him/her to respond in anger. I am disturbed. Disturbed that violence is the only answer for so many. But, I remain silent.
Why? I am a white, Christian, conservative female who has not dealt with tremendous, personal tragedy. To some, the filter in which I view this world is covered in privilege (the word that is becoming synonymous to hate) so my words are discredited. To others, if I speak of injustices or give legitimacy to an issue, I am a sell-out or an opportunist. Either way, assumptions, accusations and judgements will fly. So, I remain silent.
I remain silent publicly, but I pray my heart out to our true and loving God. I weep. I hurt. I scream. I praise Him, I question Him, and I desperately try to hear His will and place meaning to all the heartache and tragedy. I do not pretend to know the hurt and suffering of so many throughout our country or the world. I do not know what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes — to know the pain or the courage of another. But I do know God can heal and that prayer can change everything, if we will humble ourselves, put down our arms and our judgements and let love, let God do the fighting. Sure, this may sound naive or even sanctimonious but I believe there is good in this world and others who are remaining silent publicly but choosing to fight spiritually. My silence is not insensitivity, my silence is being heard by the One that truly hears our cries. I will remain silent and serve others as God has called us — humbly, lovingly and with grace — something I strive to do every day.
I am praying deeply for everyone grieving from the loss of loved ones, for the perpetrators, their issues and their families and for the healing of this great country. May God be with you, with us, and comfort us.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18