How should one respond to evil? How much protection should erect, or at least attempt to? Is there anything we can or should do?
In the aftermath of any tragedy the question swirl without an apparent answer. It is tough to know how to react. Families and friends grieve for those who have been brutally taken away. The finality of it all defies comprehension and yet the reality of the present repeatedly tells us that it has in fact happened. Hope dips and hovers at a low ebb. Alternatives seem bleak, lonely, and lost.
Grasping for answers does not always yield result. It is as if our bodies know how unlikely it is that anything will actually work! The pain is real, unrelenting, and rests at the core of who we are. The injustice of the present screams for action of some, any, all kinds. Yet even as we find ourselves compelled to act, we struggle with the pointlessness of it all. Will this really make a difference? Will this help? Does it matter?
Yes, our response does matter. It tells others, more importantly it tells our souls, of our values and priorities. In a sense our response is a mirror on which we can look at what is within – to celebrate or consider.
When confronted by evil, “Jesus, knowing by now everything that was coming down on him, went out and met them. He said, ‘Who are you after?’
They answered, ‘Jesus the Nazarene.’” (John 18.4)
His response is our model; simple, direct, and open. Evil does not play by those rules, communities do. Evil hides its agenda under the cover of darkness, communities ensure everyone knows and understands the plan. Evil justifies any actions by the result they achieve. Communities know process is more important than results. “Why” is critical.
It is easy to talk of communities responding with grace, compassion, and mercy. It is vital we remember and treasure the simple fact that you and I make up the community. The “we” is composed of many “I”. Our choice today defines the “we”.
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