This is an incredibly sad moment in the history of our nation. That is not to say that the violence that shook the grounds of our nation’s capital is surprising. The fact that it was predicable only adds to the sadness of the moment. Our nation, which has been this ever-evolving experiment in freedom for the last 245 years, seems to be in its deepest point of division since 1865.
This sadness should be upon everyone, regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum. As a nation, we have been far from perfect, but we have perhaps been better than almost any other nation. Unfortunately, the many times in 2020 when people felt the need to rise up because of our failings have come to a head in 2021, and how it ends is anyone’s guess. Frankly, the only people who are happy right now are the anarchists, because their strength is based upon weakening the foundation of a stable nation. I guess the other nations in the world who want to see us undermined are also pretty happy as well.
What should we do? Perhaps the better question for each of us to ask is “what should I do?”. After all, our nation is simply a collection of individuals, and this nation was founded on individual rights, so perhaps the best place to start is at the individual level – you.
I’m assuming you don’t control a security force, so you can’t use it to disperse a crowd. Chances are you don’t own a TV or radio station, from which you can broadcast messages of peace. You likely aren’t some celebrity that has millions of followers on Twitter, all looking for your advice. No, chances are you have a relatively limited sphere of influence, and relatively limited resources with which you could possibly respond to this madness. So, what do you do?
Can I suggest that you simply start by loving your neighbor? In fact, find the neighbor with whom you most disagree, and simply try to love them. You don’t have to agree with them, and you don’t have to concede anything to them. Just love them. Treat them with respect and dignity. Listen to them, even if they sound a little crazy right now. Forget about the protests, forget about the elections, forget about the outrage over so many different things. Put those things aside and just focus on loving your neighbor.
I know this won’t make the nation better, but it might make your neighborhood better. And if we each focus on our own neighborhood, then our broader community starts to heal. If we then keep broadening the circle, others might start to heal as well. It will take a while, but perhaps we can recapture civility. I know this doesn’t address our differences, but at least it might at least reintroduce humanity to our efforts. Further, it is something that is actually within your control to do. You don’t need permission from anyone else, and it only takes your time and willingness to take a positive step during a very dark time.
This is a very sad time indeed, but we aren’t powerless. Don’t simply stand back and watch our nation burn. Go and love someone, and try to bring an end to this.
Peace and blessings – Pastor Aaron