Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Here in America, there continues to be a surge in violence filled with hate. The increased attacks on the Asian community since the spread of COVID-19, mass shootings, inhuman border treatment, and socio-economic racial injustice seems to be a consistent theme across news outlets and social media. As we look across the world, the scene is just as traumatic. Humans are fighting for their basic rights as society shares in a collective sigh of exhaustion. Why does it seem like the fires of hate spread the quickest?
We’re angry when our political candidate doesn’t win (e.g., the Capitol Riots). We’re angry that the affects of COVID-19 have lasted so long; we’ve lost friends, family members, jobs, homes, and careers. The fight against social injustice, racism, sexism, and classism have formed a variety of movements across the globe. The demand for equal treatment grows louder as the wealth gap grows wider. The rage we feel is contagious.
I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t matter where you stand on an issue. We’re filled with anger because we inherently believe that our personal position is right. When life goes against that position, we feel wronged. And maybe we have been wronged, but what we do with that aggression is what matters the most. Unfortunately, what we are witnessing right now is that more and more fits of anger are spilling over into acts of violence. Hatred has become a good reason to devalue the lives of others. When we see this happening, we look on in disdain as if we are that different from “those people”. I’m here to tell you that maybe, we are not as different as we think.
This Surge in Violence and our Personal Impact
Pain is a common theme around the world. We’ve all experienced it and have had to make choices on how to handle it. When we see mass shootings/killings, we have to understand that while we may not have participated in those crimes, we are often making choices to the detriment of others. For example, when we choose not to recycle, we are contributing to climate change. Those changes impact our environments, our communities, and peoples’ livelihoods. Climate change reminds us that our choices matter.
When we see the issues plaguing our society and choose silence, God holds us accountable for those actions. To do nothing is a choice, and unfortunately, it’s just as impactful. There are a lot of issues in our world, and it can be difficult to know where to start – so start small. Find a topic you’re passionate about and put your efforts towards making a positive change in that area. Also remember, it’s not about the number of people you reach. Instead, think of what you do as being a part of a larger domino effect. As one person is inspired, they share that light with others. This inspiration keeps going and going, as long as we are willing to carry those lights.
Who is Your Neighbor?
When Jesus told the story of the Samaritan who helped a man that had been robbed, He told us that we to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to show them mercy. Today, we must remember that communities outside of our own, are still our neighbors. Not being Asian isn’t a reason to look the other way when they are being negatively targeted. If we can share in each other’s cultures and experiences, we have to also be willing to share in the pain. We should stand up for the fair treatment of everyone, and not condone mistreatment when we see it.
We need to be more mindful of the jokes we make, our racial commentary, and our biases. Given the times that we are in, life is only going to get more complicated. Nevertheless, we still need to try. We won’t always get it right and I don’t think that we should cancel someone when they get it wrong. Intentions matter. If people are trying to get it right, educate them to help them do better. And if they don’t want to get it right, or choose to blame others, hold them accountable for their actions. No one is perfect. We cannot expect perfection from imperfect beings, but we should expect their best efforts as we learn how to improve our own.
May we continue to pray for the disenfranchised communities, those impacted by these surges in violence, and for our own personal growth so that we can spread the light of God wherever we go.Print This Devotional