I have been troubled by all of the violence and terror in the world the last few months. I’ve started to write many different pieces about it. But before I finish one, another tragedy occurs. Horrible tragedies here in the Pacific Northwest; across the world in Paris; images of refugees with no home or hope; the shooting in San Bernardino; a presidential candidate promoting racism; and just today the closing of schools in LA due to bomb threats. The list could go on and on. Honestly, at times it makes me really frightened for the future world my children are growing into.
Social Media has made this world smaller. We have access to all of those images that we can’t ignore. Or look away from. Some of us share posts or tweets out of outrage. Some out of heartache. Others add the profile overlays to stand in solidarity. I know I did for Paris. Then others mock those who did, because they didn’t change their picture for every other tragedy.
I have even had people unfriend or unfollow me because apparently I didn’t react quick enough to respond to tragedy. Or stand up strong enough with my Christian values to affirm refugees, gay marriage, black lives or Muslims. I have such a mix of feelings over all of this. Not the issues, but the judgment of others. I seek first to understand, then to find common ground.
Here’s what I believe the common ground should be: all people matter. All people were created in the image of God. All people have value. Whether they’re from my part of the world or the slums of a foreign country. Gay or straight or somewhere in the middle struggling with their identity. All people including all the beautiful colors of skin and hair and eyes. And all the people that worship differently than I do. We all matter. We all sin. Yes, some have done horrendous acts that I can’t even begin to explain or understand. Yet I trust that God will judge them appropriately. That is not my job to judge anyone and I don’t want to live in fear of anyone.
It also doesn’t mean I passively sit or live a life of apathy. Just because I haven’t taken a stand for every cause on social media doesn’t mean I don’t care. I choose not to engage in a lot of rhetoric in social forums. Again, not because I don’t care, but because I would prefer to have a face to face discussion, so that you understand the heart of love behind all I do.
Most of these face to face discussion happen in my own home.
Because this is where changing the world starts. It starts with our own kids and raising a generation that knows what it means to be loved, listened to, cared for. A generation that knows how to love, care for and serve others.
Let it also start with you. Start the change in your own life, in your own home. Have discussion about the hard things. Decide together as a family what you can do, how you can give, where you can serve, or how you can pray. Trust, grow, be stretched, be challenged, and then model the same for your kids. Model mercy, compassion, and justice. Be honest with them when you don’t understand, when your heart hurts, when you’re confused, and even when you’re angry about social issues. Seek answers. Have discussions. Find answers in reputable sources. And still model love. Let it all show love.
Also, let’s let Facebook be the place to share the bright spots of our day and funny pictures of cats. Because funny pictures of cats make me laugh. Okay?
act justly, love mercy, walk humbly