I have not changed my profile picture to include the colors of the French flag, not because my heart is not broken for those killed and injured, but because the pain is so much larger. For those in Beirut, Lebanon that were killed in a bomb blast, for those at a Baghdad funeral that were blown up as well. People going about their lives, just like those in New York on 9/11, some happy, some mourning, all with goals and dreams for another day, suddenly gone.
I do not understand the hate that lives inside of someone that spurs them to commit such horrible acts. I do know that it is not Allah, as Allah is the same God of Abraham that I believe in as a Christian. It is the person that has been brainwashed to believe a distorted view of the world. In the same way that I do not understand the hate and vitriol that is spewed from the mouths speaking and fingers typing that call for more war, for retaliation, and sadly for hatred of all Muslims or anyone of a different ethnicity or skin color or belief system. These horrible words are often spoken in the name of Jesus Christ and His father. This is also a distorted world view.
The Bible does not call for hatred. It calls for love. It calls for caring for the widowed, the orphaned, the lost – guess what!?! That includes refugees and those trying to find peace int he world. Although difficult, it also means caring for those that have perpetrated such horrible crimes as those witnessed in the last week, and to be honest centuries. Taking care of one group of people does not stop anyone from caring for another group. We all have a responsibility to care for others. Everyone. That does not mean that you personally have to hold the hand of every grieving person or anything like that, it means that you have respect for each person as a human being. It means when you come in contact with someone that needs help, you help them. It means not judging people you have never met and finding them lacking.
What does your hatred and misunderstanding teach? It teaches more hatred and misunderstanding. What would happen if instead of bombs and soldiers that kill, we send books and teachers that teach respect, love, reading, and arithmetic? What if in our own homes and towns, we teach respect? This does not mean that you are to be walked all over, it means that you give every person the benefit of the doubt. When respect is given, it is usually returned. When respect is withheld, it is usually withheld. Remember that “Eye for an eye” thing? Yeah, Jesus was the one that switched that up and changed it to, “Turn the other cheek.”
There is always the chance that when you extend respect and love, it will be shot down. That you will be treated with disrespect or even violence. I have been there. I have experienced that. That does not mean that I should react the same way. It means that I have to work that much harder to love when times are hard, and even when times are easy. It does not mean that I cannot get upset. It means that my feelings are real, but I am in control of how I chose to respond to my feelings. I can act with anger and hatred, but once again, what does that teach?
I am forever thankful of the people that have shown me love and kindness when I have not been loving and kind. I am thankful that they remind me what is important. I have been thankful when something goes wrong and I have made a mistake and the person opts to forgive me and show me grace rather than swearing and a lawsuit.
I hope that when I have shown grace and mercy, love and kindness, it is an example to others as well. That they also will feel the respect. That they will decide to move forward with respect as well, that a lesson has been learned. A lesson of peace, forgiveness, and love. Not a lesson of violence, grudges, and hate.
My heart is braking for our entire world. The hungry, the lost, the broken, the abandoned, the sick, and the hated. Also for the brainwashed, the self-righteous, the egotistical, and the angry.
Some people may not appreciate the prayers that I say to my God. They may say that I am brainwashed, lost, self-righteous, egotistical, and unrealistic. Their view of me, does not change who I am. It does not change my faith. It does not change my deep longing for peace.
Do I change as a result of the world around me? Yes, I do. My heart bleeds. My eyes cry. My soul screams in anguish and pain. At the same time when there is goodness, my heart mends, my eyes still often cry with happy tears, my soul laughs with joy.
The world shapes each of us. Molds us into the person we are at any given time. We cannot be apart from the world. We are all one body. We are all interconnected. I will still pray. I will still reach out to help those that I can. Whatever your belief system, whatever your ideology, I ask you to choose love, respect, peace, and life.