Beef With The Body Count


I have tried to write this collective of thoughts from my broken heart, several times this year. Every time I start, I am met with a new set of circumstances to confirm my thoughts and break my heart again.  

I will not recount the excessively abundant supply of violent acts that have taken lives, so unnecessarily, this year, this decade, even in this last centennial. But, I will address the particular scenarios that have played out, ad nauseum, in our most recently history:

*Gang violence and murder against people in the individual community (black on black, white on white, etc.,  crime)

*Acts of violence and murder against people of other communities (the perpetuation of racial/cultural wars)

*Law enforcement officers’ violence and murder against black civilians, whether innocent or guilty

*Civilian violence and murder against law enforcement officers

*Local and foreign terrorist acts of violence and murder against Civilian citizens and law enforcement officers

*Acts of violence and murder against the unborn and aged, borne of convenience and, “compassion.”

*Acts of anger, aggression, hatred and protest for ALL the acts of violence, murder, terrorism, as well as for the enthusiasm and disinterest of the aforementioned acts.

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The rise in the occurrence of events such as these seems to have us all in shock, dismay and in a desperate need of someone to blame.  

I had a very dear friend in such a state of disheartened despair, that he questioned the purpose of his existence in such a horrid day and age. As he queried to the world at large, about what the solution could be, he found much support for his saddened disposition on social media.  

Desperate to instill a sense of hope into the climate, I responded to his post: LOOK UP AND REJOICE!

I continued, “God was very clear in His word that ‘perilous times would come,’ and that we should look up and LIVE, not only as this climate is an indication that our redemption is close, but also because, as God’s children, not only are we equipped to extend that hope to others, we have an assurance that, living or dead, WE WIN!!”

I got no response. I guess I wasn’t political enough.

I am concerned for Christians in this climate of worry, fear, heightened emotions and mass hysteria. Many get so caught up in the emotion of it, that they miss what God is really doing.  This is a slippery slope of flesh.  It’s important to mourn with those who mourn.  We are not made of wood.  The pain that is in this world right now is REAL! There are times when I don’t want to turn on a television, social media or even pick up my phone. This is all just TOO MUCH.  And, we must be careful with our hearts…they can become numb.

The only way to guard our hearts is to FOCUS ON THE HOPE WE HAVE.  

MAKE NO MISTAKE…this is a very emotionally charged season we’re in.  The reality is, EVERYTHING IS GOING ACCORDING TO THE PROGRAM.  Nobody wants to look in the Book and see that GOD IS ON SCHEDULE…HIS SCHEDULE.

This is actually a good thing.

We forget…the world is full of darkness. And that is as it should be…much more so, as we are nearer to His returning. How else will the light be so bright that people are actually drawn to it. But WE are responsible to lift up the LIGHT!!  The only way to do that is to REFLECT the Light within us!  We cannot do that if we fall into the mire of political postures and angry, vindictive rhetoric. Even in the days of Israel being slaves to Egypt. When darkness fell, and the people were all paralyzed with fear because, “they saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: BUT ALL THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL HAD LIGHT IN THEIR DWELLINGS.” (Exodus 10:23)

We cannot give in to the darkness if we intend to help lead the way to the light.

I have friends and family of color whose children are afraid anytime the police are called.  Not that they’ve done anything wrong.  They may even need to call for their own sake.  But they will not, for fear of being mistakenly killed in the melee.  I have friends and family of color in law enforcement.  Good cops and good military personnel who fear responding to the call to duty.

I have friends and family of EVERY color who are either too afraid to speak their disgust or despair for fear of recrimination from their peers and counterparts,  or too angry and frustrated NOT to speak out for fear that the next time they speak will be at the funeral of another victim of circumstance.

In times as desperate as these appear to be, people with hurting hearts will try anything to make their point. I understand that. I do not seek to recriminate. I have compassion on anyone attempting to bring attention to the problem. I think it is more important to identify the problem and distinguish it from the SYMPTOMS of the problem. What everyone is taking a stance on are the SYMPTOMS, while the problem remains unidentified and untreated. THE PROBLEM IS SIN. What we are all up in arms about are the symptoms of SIN SICKNESS. The solution has been the same, since the beginning. For the collective of humanity, it just feels like too much sacrifice and work for everyone to agree that the treatment must be the real answer and would really affect the change we all desire to see.

But, THE CHURCH should know better…

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14

The world at large is covered in the darkness of sin.  They cannot even SEE one another, much less themselves.  It is THE CHURCH’S RESPONSIBILITY to REFLECT LIGHT in this dark age!! The promise of hope lives within us! We must not fall prey to the effects of the rampant darkness! How, then, can we produce light? WE, the CHURCH, must REPENT and TURN from OUR WICKEDNESS…our apathy, our disinterest, our lazy warfare and greasy grace!!

Judgement and remedy both begin in the house of God. We must stop politicizing the symptoms and get to the heart of the Gospel, if we are to affect change. But, responding like ‘everybody else’ is not the way to do it.  

So, yeah…I got beef with the body count. My beef is that MY HANDS are covered in BLOOD, when I neglect to communicate the HOPE within ME.  

But, guess what?  So are yours, Kaleidoscope Family.  We either rise, or we fall…we are all bound or delivered TOGETHER.

HOW SHALL WE ESCAPE, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? (Hebrews 2:3-4)

So…what are YOU gonna do about it? Shall we continue to commiserate? Or shall we call on the name of the Lord and expect to see the miracles, signs and wonders that God promised?

It’s your choice…

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Make a Difference…CHOOSE Life


DISCLAIMER

Yesterday was a strange and difficult day.  I woke to the very tragic news about another ridiculously random shooting in a movie theater.  12 killed, 58 injured, including one 3 month old baby (at least, as of the time I stopped turning on the news). My heart was broken, as was much of the nation. Some of us are simply numb from over exposure to this type of violence. (Those of us from the Chicagoland area are completely oversaturated by this madness.) I am having trouble understanding what the problem could have been.  What is it about life that can make someone so sadistic, so selfish…so ungrateful for life, however challenging it may be?

I have been sitting and stewing on this subject for months…literally, MONTHS! And then this happens!  I am almost at a loss for words.  On the other hand (Like I said, I’ve been sitting and stewing for a while)…

I have watched, in my own generation, the family unit become completely unraveled and the frustration about it all has been brewing.  I have had many discussions about it with my own sons and yesterday was no exception.  What could make someone behave ‘that way’?

We bandied about many issues that could have precipitated the acts of violence we have seen in recent years: Acts of violence on video games as opposed to the local news; parenting without boundaries and unbalanced consequences to bad behavior (sometimes rewarding it, sometimes ignoring it and sometimes over-punishing); Angry or moody music (how many people got up and shot somebody with the blues playing?); the impact of abortion on the value of life; the impact of imposing religion on people as opposed to introducing them to a relationship with God…we covered a lot of ground.

THIS WEEK’S BLOG IS NOT A DIRECT RESPONSE TO THE EVENTS IN AURORA, COLORADO

However, after talking and listening to God, my sons, and my heart, I believe this is what God wanted me to post today.  I have several articles in mind that would have served as a response to this occasion. Pieces of them were written years ago. Some of them have a decidedly more ‘soapbox’ tone to them.  And, rest assured, I will be posting them at a later date. Like I said, I’ve had this subject on my mind for quite some time. Please hear my heart on this and try not to take offense.

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Every now and again, our lives need an internal evaluation.  Am I happy, or do I have joy?  Am I content or complacent? Is my drive to do things in order to get what I want, or to get that I really need? And, if I am getting what I need, is it at the expense of someone else’s need? Am I making a positive difference in the lives around me or am I becoming a source of irritation? When people see me coming, do they smile or wince?

Sometimes we get in a rut with the choices we make, and we don’t even see it happening!  It’s so easy to get caught up in the distracting, panicky pace of life and you find yourself thinking about things in a way that only brings you (and everyone around you) down.

Many times we look at our homes and communities, and we look only at the things that need to be corrected.  The roof needs to be repaired.  The kids’ rooms need cleaning.  The schools need more teachers. There are so many things that need to be done, corrected and provided for.

We all look at Philippians 4:8 like it’s rhetoric to be memorized…and it is.  But it is also a habit to be practiced.  Thinking on the positive in a world full of negative takes WORK.  And, just like any kind of exercise, it starts with the CHOICES to do it. Yes, I said CHOICES.  Every moment of every day we make that choice. The more consistent you are about being aware of the choices, the easier it becomes to choose well.

Is an angry observation about the obvious going to make the difference?  Probably not, in and of itself.  But, if that complaint is redressed as a critique for what isn’t working, coupled with a compliment for what is working and a suggestion of how YOU can help make it better, change for the better is a foregone conclusion.  How the deposits of today produce the returns of tomorrow is determined by one’s perspective.

What do we see?  How do we see it?  Every moment of everyday, the choice to see the world through the lenses of life or death is set before us.  To speak life and to see life is to communicate gratitude for the good and a hope-filled expectation for the best in everything.  To focus on death only breeds despair and apathy.

Yes, the roof needs repair. But, isn’t it good that it has held on through this rainy season?  The kids are studying so diligently this week maybe a cleaned room can be worked on this weekend.  If we could get some of the parents together from honors English to take turns as visiting helpers in class once a week, that wonderful, hard-working educator might not appear to be so overwhelmed.

It’s amazing how seeing something through the grateful eyes of life can reveal the endless positive possibilities before us.  More amazing still is how communicating gratitude and life includes us in the effort and the process for positive change.  And really… isn’t it better to build up than to tear down?

Make today the day you choose to speak life.  See life, and LIVE.

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