It is hard to find the words to express how I feel about the events of the past two days.
A young man seems to have been shot needlessly during a traffic stop in Minneapolis while his girlfriend and her child watch. Another police shooting of a civilian in Baton Rouge. Now, a man in Dallas taking matters into his own hands, renders his form of punishment on the Dallas police officers on site to protect those protesting. He kills five and injures seven officers.
If you’re reading this, I don’t need to provide further details. You already know the stories. Very sad indeed.
How do we process matters like these? And do I have a role in this?
I’m nearly finished reading a book by Philip Yancey entitled “Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News?” in which he uses the term “weapons of grace”. I love that term. Pointed – powerful – meaningful. So what is the weapon of grace that we possess?
I really dislike the terms “evangelical” and “religious”. Some people might describe me as that. I really rather that wasn’t the case. I don’t ally with evangelicals or the religious. Evangelicals (or at least those who us the term as it was NOT intended) are known more for what they are against rather than what they are for. And religious or “conservative” people (again, as described by others than those that ARE the religious) are quick to point out the wrongs in other’s lives.
It seems that the Good News message that Jesus brought becomes lost in this. Is being told your lifestyle is wrong, that people or a certain group tend to commit more crimes than others, or that you need to clean up your act (whatever that means) is really leading with grace? Who’s attracted to those set of beliefs?
Yancey comments in his book that “the issue is not whether I agree with someone but rather how I treat someone with whom I profoundly disagree” and “which means treating even our opponents with love and respect”. What does that have to do with the current tensions in our society?
Our language and actions are too often polarizing. When tensions flare, such as a time like this, people seems to feel they’re pushed to choose sides. I believe there’s only one side to choose.
Peace and grace.
I think that’s what I’m going to contemplate. How to demonstrate peace and grace in my conversations and position on these matters. I don’t what to become part of the conversation that insights further antagonism to others.
It’s not black or white nor Democrat or Republican. It’s about showing peace and grace to all.
[photo credit: http://www.cheapsignals.blogspot.com]