This weekend, I was the living stereotype of an overscheduled twenty-something, always showing up five minutes late with Starbucks. Between a birthday party, bridal shower, barbecue, going away party (that I unfortunately didn’t make it to), Sunday school, church and date night, I think I’m more exhausted after this weekend than I was after all my weekends of travel this summer.
But my weekend was nothing to complain about in comparison to some.
It was impossible to turn on the news, scroll through Twitter, or even just exist as a person with any sort of awareness of current events without being hit hard by the events in Charlottesville this weekend.
It amazes me that even now, in 2017, such horrific, heartbreaking, evil acts still plague us. It breaks my heart, and all I can do is hit my knees and pray for our broken, broken world.
But praying is not enough.
My pastor reminded us all of this on Sunday. I’m incredibly grateful that I planned out time for church despite the hectic schedule I stuck myself with. It would have been all to easy to check out after my kids ministry shift and go back home to cuddle up and watch the Harry Potter marathon all day.
But I didn’t, and it was one of those obvious moments of God’s hand in my life, as my pastor became a true shepherd and spoke words that not only I, but so many of us, needed to hear.
A lot of us oftentimes avoid confrontation on such a level as this. We try to gloss over the brokenness of our world with a blanket statement or prayer, and we remind ourselves that we are all loved, even those marching in blatant displays of racism and hate.
And while that is true – God loves all of His people – there is another unavoidable truth that this weekend brought up:
Sin is sin.
Racism is sin.
And we are compelled to stand up in the face of sin, to confront it, and to proclaim what is right.
I admit that I am guilty of that same blanket prayer that I mentioned just moments ago. I don’t like to get political on social media; I look at it much like a glorified dinner table, and I was taught long ago that politics has no place in dinner table conversation. In fact, I don’t really like to get political ever. I vote, in both local and national elections, but I try to avoid feeding into the divisiveness of our world socially, especially lately.
But what happened this past weekend was beyond politics.
And it needs to be called out.
I did a lot of thinking after church this weekend about what can be done to help heal our world, and it was shown to me that the best solution is to start literally within our own worlds. Love and kindness are two of the greatest powers on our earth, and by showing as much of it as we can to our loved ones, our neighbors, and even those we aren’t too fond of, we can propel forward an overall attitude of hope.
I know that it’s oftentimes hard to stand up for what we think is right in this world. I get it. I admit that I find it incredibly difficult to rock the boat in my own personal circle by proclaiming politics or ideologies that I know some of the people I love most might not agree with.
But what is right is not always easy. That much has always been made obvious.
Luckily, God has made it so easy for us to love one another. He has given us hearts that can be so full and mouths that can speak so kindly. He has given us the power of forgiveness, so that we can let go of negativity in our lives and push forward. He has offered us forgiveness in return, so that we no longer need to harbor resentment for our own mistakes. He has shown us a clear path to healing our own little universes, which may be exactly the key to healing the world at large.
So while I cannot heal the hurt that this past weekend caused the country, I can heal the hurt that I have caused. I can smile at a stranger I may have otherwise ignored or shied away from for whatever unfortunate reason. I can confront bad rhetoric or jokes that go a step too far within my own circle. I can pray for peace, both within my inner circle and for our nation, and our world. I can accept those that may differ from me, and I can show the glory of acceptance to those I know whose minds might still be closed.
There is only one side to kindness, acceptance, and love. That’s the only side we, as humans, should stand beside. That is the only side that will promote progress, and work to heal our world. That is the only side I will stand on, and I invite you to stand alongside me.
Because our world is so broken, and we are the soldiers that have been sent to do good work and to do what we can to fix it.