I’ve spent the better part of the past week without any new posts, trying to make sense of what happened in Connecticut personally, trying to determine what I can add to the near cacophony of voices out there in the media and the blogosphere. It’s been tough for me, because my daughter is autistic, and her and I are both on mood-altering medications right now, so I had to resist the urge to post something I would later regret about the connections between autism or medication and violence, but I have now found my voice in this tragedy.
Let’s face it – this world is just dark. Every day, all we have to do is take a good in the mirror to come face to face with some heavy selfishness, some deep brokenness, and probably some habitual sinfulness. And on occasion we have moments like Sandy Hook that broadcast the darkness loud and clear.
So, what are we supposed to do? It would be easy to throw up our hands in despair and say, “It’s too much! I simply CANNOT make a difference. I am no Mother Theresa. I am just going to live my life.” Or, we could curse the darkness.
I believe there is a third way, an ancient path the Apostle Paul laid out for us in Romans. I want to walk us through some very practical things that Paul shares with us in chapter 12 of this book over the next few blog posts. If we take Paul’s words to heart, I believe that we can be the change our society needs, not just in the face of tragedies like the senseless deaths of kindergarten students, but every day.
9 Love must be sincere. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
Verse 9 has some unmistakably powerful images – sincere love, hatred of evil, clinging to good. These are words that are largely missing in our society today.
Sincere love is a life changing force for good. I don’t mean to sound like a reject from the DC Comic universe, but sincere love is almost unstoppable. The sincere love of an unknown next door neighbor literally saved my life, stopped me from committing suicide, and led to my introduction to Jesus. Countless others have the same story. We simply must learn to slow down, ask real questions, listen intently to the answers, and actually care. This is where sincere love will be birthed from.
Once birthed, sincere love acts a certain way. Sincere love abhors evil and clings to good. Hate does not seem to be in short supply nowadays, whether that is directed to homosexuals or Greensboro Baptist Church or Barack Obama or Mike Huckabee. This hatred misses the point though. Rather than thinking large and speaking judgment, we should think small and be sincere.
Make no mistake – if you claim Christ, those who don’t are watching the way you live your life, and looking for a reason to believe it or not. The consistency of your love life with them will determine the answer. It’s the simple things that will make the difference.
When you ask how their day is going, do you actually listen to the answer, or do you shine them on just like everyone else? Do you ever ask how their family is doing? Do you even know if they have a family? Do you care?
It might not seem like these questions are related to abhorring evil or clinging to good, but they are in a very real way. God never intended for us to live selfish isolated lives, focused on our own needs, our own jobs, our own families, our own selves.
Whatever we can do to jar others out of this self-focus is GOOD, and forces the focus toward community, toward God. We will talk more about how to live out this type of life in this dark world in a meaningful way in the coming days and weeks.
Oh, and Merry Christmas to all!