Between the searching and the need to work it out
I stop believing everything will be alright
We are broken
I'm walking uphill being turned around and round
Secret in motion when my feet are on the ground
We are broken
In my mind's eye
One little boy anger one little man
Funny how time flies
Tears for Fears
How are we to understand and respond to these recent tragic shootings in our world? What are we to do to protect ourselves from further and future harm? Polarized political positions that present themselves as mutually exclusive when democracy depends on compromise only add fuel to a fire that has already burned too long….. and I feel the heat rising.
With each new shooting, both sides use the tragedy as evidence to support their intractable stances in a standoff debate while obscuring the deeper truth that the real problem is not in our having too many or too few guns.
The real problem is us…….
The Bible tells us that “hardship does not spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the ground. Yet man is born to trouble, as surely as sparks fly upward” (Job 5:6-7). Looking for something or someone outside ourselves to blame, we fail to see that the brokenness out there in the world is nothing more, and nothing less, than the brokenness within us, writ large.
If we only see the brokenness of the world “out there” without acknowledging the brokenness of the world "in here,” inside ourselves, we can never really understand. And, in the absence of knowing this brokenness personally, we are doomed to living in the fear of that which we do not understand.
But, when we acknowledge our common human condition, our common capacity for both good and evil, both light and darkness; when we acknowledge that there were 10 tragic losses of life and not 9, embracing our common future and common fate in a world that is unavoidably ours to share, then – and only then – can we see our way forward, see our way out. For the answer to darkness in not more darkness, nor is the solution to meet violence with more violence. Instead, the only “force” that can bring light to the darkness and healing to the brokenness that is both within and without, is love.
Not a Pollyannaish Love, not a Hallmark Card Love, but instead……………
A love that holds a person accountable, but more as a son than an enemy
A love that reaches out with friendship so that no one’s thoughts can lead them to a sense of isolation or abandonment
A love that reaches out with generosity so that no one’s poverty can lead them to desperation
A love that reaches out with forgiveness so that no one believes themselves to be beyond help, or hope
A love that reaches out with balm for body and mind because no one is beyond healing
A love given to enemies as if they were friends, a love given to others as we would want to be loved ourselves
Because, when we really know the brokenness, and when we really know the power of love given or withheld, we will at the same time know that the heaven or hell of this world is of our own making.