Monday, July 23, 2012

The Only Hope

I came to a realization yesterday while simply reading my Twitter feed.  I know I am not the first to come to this realization; in fact I may be among the last.  You see, my problem is I am an optimist. I tend to believe that no matter how bad things may get, they will turn out well in the end. Reading the tweets of these I follow and those that they retweet yesterday caused me to seriously doubt my optimistic outlook on the future of our world.  This is the realization I came is hard to have hope.

The topic of discussion that kick-started all of this was this weekend's horrible and senseless tragedy in Aurora, CO. Once people got past the condolences, outrage and prayer requests, they begin to speak to their own concerns. Their own emotions. Their own politics.  And in the space of 10 minutes I read numerous tweets from well-meaning, goodhearted people who sincerely believe that things like the theater shootings can only be prevented by getting more guns into the hands of good people.  If only a "good guy" in the theater had been packing, far less damage would have been done.  I confess to being astonished at that particular point of view, being a long time Quaker and pacifist myself.  But these were not politicians or representatives of the NRA out to make a point- these were everyday people like you and me simply expressing their views on the issue. In that same time span I read tweets from those who are outraged that guns are available at all.  Again, these were normal folks expressing their heartfelt opinions. The two viewpoints could not be more opposite. And this is where my optimism took the beating- neither group will ever change the minds of the other. This will be a point of disagreement until the day they die. And because of that, nothing will change

We see this in our society everywhere we look.  Political issues, socioeconomic issues, religious issues, international issues- all of them find us terribly divided and totally unwilling to listen to other opinions.  It leaves us with our hearts and minds closed to change. That leaves us living with the status quo.  And as Ronald Reagan once famously, said, "Status Quo is Latin for this mess we're in now."

But just as quickly as the reaction to the Aurora tragedy pointed out this darkness in our society, an interview with one of the shooting victims showed me the light. I missed his name, but he was a young man wounded early on in the shooting.  I do not have the exact quote, but what he said was something like the following. When asked if he hated the man who shot him, his response was sincere and amazing.  He said he felt sorry for the shooter. He thought anyone carrying around that much hatred and violence in his heart had to be miserable.  He said he would pray for the killer. He then said that there is evil in the world, a real darkness. But there is also a light, and no darkness can ever overcome it (John 1:8).  And suddenly, my glass was way more than half full again.

Psalm 20:7 reminds us that "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God."  You may trust in science, patriotism, gun control,  the church or democracy.  You may trust in wealth, technology, political parties, education or guns themselves.  But understand this- ALL of those things will pass away.  And in the end there is still going to be that one light- "the Light that was shinning when the world began"- that always shines in through the darkness.  And his name is Jesus.  Yesterday, today and forever.  You hope that this world will change?  There is only one way that happens.  Follow Jesus.  Not church doctrine, not political parties, not popular leaders, not ancient traditions. The radical, living, breathing Jesus.  He came to rescue us, and we certainly need rescuing. He is the only hope...

Because of Jesus,

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7/23/2012

    I am pretty sure I was just kicked in the butt by Jesus.


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