Just like you, I have watched the news clips and I have read the articles. I have felt the anger and I have even felt moments of fear. I have felt deep sadness as I have watched the events unfold. Human fighting human. Hate lashing out. Fear lashing out. Darkness being revealed.
I want to love deeper because Jesus requests this of me.
I’ve called on Jesus to transform my heart and have asked Him to reveal the ways I have bought into hate, bought into fear.
I’ve written my post encouraging us towards more.
I attended an event declaring hope for love and unity and I lit my candle with all of the others in attendance.
But it doesn’t seem like enough.
Because I face this dilemma…
A dilemma that I am not proud to admit.
But nonetheless, here it is…
I realize that I am just a few steps away from fading back into the world of pretending that there is not a human against human problem. A problem that leads to humans beating other humans with flags and torches and fists. A problem that leads to humans spraying fire from aerosol cans, and throwing rocks and punches. A problem that leads to cars being driven into crowds with the intention of devastation.
I watched these horrific images as they were occurring two short weeks ago. I saw similar images in the days that followed. They continue. The stories haven’t gone away. And yet…I am just steps away from slipping back into my alternate reality where it didn’t really happen…where it’s not still happening. And I recognize that this is not okay.
If I actually believe that love is necessary to change this human against human problem, I genuinely MUST be willing to increase my capacity to love. Like our physical bodies that do not become stronger unless they are pushed out past their limits, my capacity to love is increased through my stretching and moving beyond what is comfortable for me today.
I must ask myself who I am uncomfortable loving. Ugh. I know…I really just said that.
And because today I am referring to the type of love that is demonstrated through my actions, I am asking the deeper question of who I am uncomfortable interacting with. I am asking this question because it leads me to a deeper truth about myself. I am asking this question because I actually have answers. When I ask myself who I am uncomfortable interacting with, I find out who I struggle to love.
I am far from proud to admit this, but there are people groups that I avoid. I avoid them with my presence. I avoid them with my words. I avoid them with my eyes. And this is not love.
I am grieved by the way my avoidance adds to this human against human problem.
And so today, I commit to stretch my capacity to love. I commit to make myself uncomfortable so that what is uncomfortable today may become comfortable tomorrow.
I will lift up my head and stop avoiding with my presence, with my words and with my eyes.
I will choose to say hello. I will choose to smile. I will choose to wave. I will choose to ask, “How are you?” and wait patiently for a response. I will choose to do this especially when I know I am uncomfortable. How can I live out Jesus’ command to love my neighbors if I keep pretending that some of them aren’t even there?
I know that these actions may seem small and insignificant to some. That’s okay.
For me and for any of the rest of us knowingly a few steps away from slipping back into the alternate reality that everything is just fine, would you consider another option?
Ask yourself the hard question…who do you struggle to love?
Take an uncomfortable step…say hello. Wave. Ask them about their day. Listen.
Know that these steps are good. Simple as they may sound.
Despite the awkward.
Despite the discomfort.
Change occurs through the awkward.
Change occurs through the discomfort.