Sunday, June 12, 2016

The most important kind of healing

More and more in the news, it is unmistakable - terrorist activity in Paris, police violence in Ferguson and elsewhere, school shootings all over the place, RCMP officers being killed by someone who called 911 just to get them to come so they would be shot, a rapist whose crime was witnessed by two other people getting handed a slap on the wrist, and most recently, some gunman entering a bar in Orlando and shooting over a hundred people, at least fifty of which died - and the victims' only "crime" was that they were gay. 

Whenever something tragic (like these things and more) happens, social media and news coverage around the world express outpourings of concern, even outrage, and a lot of folks request prayer for the place where it happened, and for the families of those most affected. I lost count of the Pray for Paris posters I saw on Facebook after the Paris attacks.  This sort of reaction is what I have come to expect.  And yes, it is needed; people need to feel as though they are doing something significant to help people they have never met in response to such events.  And yes, it is perfectly fitting to pray for a community that is reeling from some atrocity. 

But let's not stop there. 

Let's also pray for an end to the attitudes and beliefs that spawn such heinous acts. Let's pray to become part of the solution by refusing to succumb to the bigotry that some people still hold in their hearts.  Let's resolve never to stand idly by and allow hate-talk to continue, or victim-blaming talk for that matter, or worse yet, participate in it. 

This is not about whether this or that lifestyle is good or bad, or whether this or that skin colour or gender or religion is better than the next one.  This is about how people like us perpetuate an atmosphere that gives license to violent people to think they will have support for doing the horrific things that they do.  Innocent bystanders are we - but are we?  As long as we ascribe right and wrong to who people are - regardless of gender, race, sexuality, religion or size - different from us, we give silent consent to the people who use violence against their own kind: humankind.  People are fragile - that which makes us human is tenuous at best. We can be self-righteous all we want, but it will not stop the reckless onslaught of hatred.  It might make us feel better - but it also makes the perpetrators feel more at ease about wreaking havoc in our world.

Jesus is not like that, folks.  Jesus accepted people who were different from Him - even healed them.  Take, for example, the man of whom Jesus said that He had not seen such great faith in Israel.  The man wanted Jesus to heal his young male love-slave, folksAnd Jesus did.  No judgment of lifestyle, no little "digs" to drive home His point.  Jesus' "point" was love. Pure and simple.  I'm just saying ... it is not up to US to judge anyone.  

Photo "Rows Of Butterfly Cocoons"
courtesy of xura at
And judging people can lead to disastrous consequences.  Surely Jesus' own death proves this.  A bunch of well-meaning religious people got some self-righteous ideas about what Messiah should look like, and they decided that Jesus was wrong - and not only wrong, but subversive - and they did the unthinkable, and thought themselves to be doing the right thing.  There is no difference - the process is the same.  People can justify their own actions with whatever twisted ideal they might hold to - but the fact remains that violence in and of itself is rarely if ever justifiable.  

The healing needs to start on the inside.  And it needs to happen to those who are hurting so very much because of these disasters ... but it needs to happen as well in our own hearts.  Until we begin to comprehend the unconditional love of God not just to us but to ALL people, and can therefore have compassion without judgment, it is we who need to be healed. 

Now. And the sooner, the better.

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