Today, we had our third mass shooting in the USA in one week. We lost over 30 brothers and sisters; many were children, and over 40 were injured and/or hospitalized. Some are in critical condition.
You’re a good, law-abiding citizen. You play by all the rules. Perhaps you regularly attend worship. You don’t cuss. You care about others, and you pray for them — even for your enemies like you are told. You don’t allow wrong-doers time. You donate and tithe to good causes. You avoid gossip. You prepare meals for the ill and elderly.
You are the model of do-right.
Your only sin (error)? You did nothing in the face of the adversity and oppression of others. But wait… you sent out your thoughts and prayers — and you really did! You didn’t just say that you did! But then you sat silent. You did not move. You did not lift a finger. You did not make one attempt to change a thing, not even with yourself, not even inside your own mind.
What will you do one day if the _______________ comes for you or one of yours? Will you remember that you sat down while others were being harmed — that you watched in silence, or turned your back to it completely? Will you remember that you looked away when they showed the bodies because it was too awful to think about, to talk about? Will you remember that after you prayed for them you went back in your home, away from the hard things, and carried on like usual? Will you remember that you thought it didn’t affect you, so there was nothing for you to do? Will you remember that you thought you were only one person?
Proverbs 24 11 Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die; save them as they stagger to their death. 12 Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve.
Also, read James 2:14-26 Faith Without Works Is Dead
1 Corinthians 12:26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
There’s a lot of requests to “just love” in the past couple days.
This is popular when there is a tragedy, whether it’s a large scale disaster, or something that just hits local or home. Notice the word “just” is put in front of the word “love” to indicate that it really is a simple thing, that it really needs to happen, and that it will really make all the difference.
I don’t think it’s surprising that this request comes in droves when a major tragedy occurs. Not at all. Nor do I think it is somehow wrong or inappropriate. We are touched and moved in various ways by these occurrences, and so it seems natural o reach out in this way.
But why aren’t we doing this every day regardless of circumstances? Why aren’t we doing less talking and more listening in the first place — and in all places and for all people? Why do we wait until a terrible thing that showed us what a lack of love and conscience looks like, to remember to “just love?” What does your “just love” look like? What does it mean? Are certain individuals or groups left out? You see, if our “just love” is meant to invoke a loving change or a change for more love, then it begins with you, me, the person stating it — not “them,” or over there somewhere. If your “just love” is meant as a plea or a reminder for people to change their hearts and minds, this must also apply to you. Otherwise it is an empty plea. “Just love” doesn’t mean that you have to start agreeing with everybody. What it looks like (if you actually want change) is the willingness to hear people that may think or act or look differently than you. It’s real easy and a cop-out from your statement to “just love” the same people that you just loved the day before the tragedy. There is absolutely no change in that. So when the dust settles from the current tragedy, guess what we have! We have the same thing we had before the tragedy — the very thing that we said we didn’t want to see any more of.
Is your “just love” just words, or is it a jump into action?
Do you have a plan to include those you left out before? I think that most of us know that one of the best ways we can show love and respect for another is to give them our attention and consideration. When we minimize, ignore, or ridicule another person’s experience based off of the simple, and simple-minded, fact that it is different from our own, that is absolutely not “just love.” It is, at its least, thoughtless. At its most, it shows up as tragedy in various forms and depths.
So the next time you broadcast “just love” as a mend, please make sure it’s not “just words.” Love is, after all, a verb, too.