Hate speech is exploding at a record pace, especially online. August 2019 marks 400 years since European colonists in the US purchased and enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia—and in four centuries the injustices and racial divisions continue. Conflict divides families. The blame game at work points fingers and even stabs backs. Neighbors and nations can’t get along.
Two mass shootings this past weekend in Dayton and El Paso slam an exclamation point on this fact: hostility and brokenness are hurting us!
There’s a right answer to the pursuit of harmony over hostility, but there are many more wrong answers. Let me give you three wrong answers.
- “It’s their fault. My sister and I aren’t talking anymore because she refuses to listen to me … and to my opinion—which is the right one.”
- “It’s not my problem. I can’t help it if immigrants leave their home for the US with no guarantee they can enter. While I live the good life and need to protect it.”
- “This just can’t be fixed. It’s too complicated and we’re too far down the path of hostility and division. It’ll just have to be this way, sorry. It’s sad to be you.”
Ready for the right answer? Here it is.
Dear God, there is brokenness in my world, my country, my home and school and workplace, and even my church. It is my problem. And more often than I’d like to admit, it’s even my fault.
There is brokenness in my life because there is brokenness in my own heart, and my own opinions and views and priorities.
God, you promise it can be fixed, because you made it your problem. You sent your Son Jesus into this broken world, and he took the blame of sin for me. You promise that whatever is my fault, you forgive in peace.
Thank you, God, that in your mercy you broke the sin of brokenness, the pain and hurt of hostility, and put it to death when Jesus died. Even as he has risen to life, I look to you and ask your Spirit to resurrect me, to make me new in getting along with others, understanding them, and building harmony with them.
Make me an instrument of your peace. In our land of freedom and peace, interrupt the pattern of violence and hate, dear God. Let justice rule, but also let forgiveness mend. Visit with your comfort and peace the families and friends of those killed in the mass shootings over the weekend. Embrace them in the safe keeping of your love.
Bless my community and my country by bringing us all closer to you, and closer to each other in a spirit of understanding, love and harmony. Amen.
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility” (Ephesians 2:13-16).
FURTHER MEDITATION: Save the prayer written above. Add it to your prayers this entire week. Read it. Pause and meditate with your own thoughts as you pray it. Ask for the Spirit’s guidance, directing you to recall and trust the words and works of God.