Simply Sad but Hopelessly Hopeful

I confess I’m a bit sad this morning.

Yesterday, the nation was shocked as a lone gunman attacked some of our elected representatives as they prepared for a fun game on a baseball field. This attack somewhat overshadowed an attack at a UPS warehouse in San Francisco as well as other shootings around our country.

While the shootings themselves cause me grief, I believe I’m more saddened by some responses. The “blame spiral” is disconcerting. Possibly even more so, is the perpetuation of some of the things that might well have inspired the attack on the representatives.

This is not a Trump or Ryan problem.

This is not a Pelosi or Clinton problem.

This is not a Democrat or Republican problem.

This is not a Social Media problem.

This is not even a gun problem.

It’s truly not the myriad of things that so many are postulating that it could be. “If only this…” or “If only that…

So, what do I KNOW the problem really is? It’s a HEART problem.

Yes, you can tune me out now – BUT I wish you wouldn’t.

The HEART problem we have is that we don’t care about other people. We are selfish. We are egocentric. We are unloving, uncaring, and unwaveringly bent on finding ways to hate.

Now, before you say, “No, I’m not. That’s not me!” indulge me for just a minute by answering questions:

·         How do you react to a #BlackLivesMatter? Do you get angry and say “All lives matter!” Do you get self-righteous and declare “That’s right!”

·         How do you react when you see a photo of the POTUS? Do you get angry and make some sort of “carrot” reference? Do you get happy and say “He’ll turn things around.”?

·         Do you click on any article against the President? Do you click on any article in favor of the President?

Why do I think the way you might answer those questions might determine whether or not you have a heart problem? It comes down to faith.

What did Jesus do? Jesus loved.

He loved the Jewish people. He loved the Samaritan people. He even loved the Roman people. He loved young people and old people. He loved people from His hometown and He loved people who lived in the next town (and the next…) He didn’t look for ways to divide. He looked for ways to love. He looked for ways to heal. He looked for ways to strengthen. Read through the Gospels and you will find story after story after story that demonstrates Jesus was committed to bringing transformation in the hearts and lives of all people.

I’m FAR from perfect. I know that and anyone who knows me knows that. I get angry, self-righteous, and fall into temptation.

But frankly, I don’t care what color you are. I don’t care what political party you are. I don’t care if you are rich or poor, educated or not, or dirty or clean. I don’t want to put a label on you or have you put a label on me. I just want to sit down, get to know you, and love you.

I’ve been part of Lay Renewal Ministries for just shy of 21 years. Some days I’m discouraged. Other days I’m exuberant. But, when the phone rings and an opportunity presents itself to go to a church and share the story of Jesus, I’m ALL in. I don’t care if it’s a large church in the South or a smaller church in the Midwest or a medium church in the Northwest. I’ll go if I can talk about Jesus.

I believe in Truth. I believe things that other people would criticize as intolerant or ignorant or unscientific or implausible or…  

You know what? I still love those people.

And I’m going to go ahead and hope and pray for the phone to ring OR the pastor to answer the phone or reply to an email. I’m still going to encourage those I know to stop worrying about this and that and to focus on love. Focus on loving God. Focus on loving their neighbor.

Somebody said that those were the most important things of all.

He was right. (He always is.)

And that gives me hope.

Yours in Him,

Marty