On a Wednesday night while people sat praying and seeking God, a man who sat among them stood up and began shooting. My mind struggles to comprehend how someone who can sit listening to prayers and than is able to act out so much hate. Scripture does give us a clue though.
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
We can have peace, even when we know that this life will have trials and pain. My heart breaks for the families who have lost dear ones so suddenly.
I don’t know fully what happened that warm night down in Charleston, but I do know that God encourages us to be kind even in the face of hatred. All over our country we see hate breeding more hate. Everyone takes a side and settles in for a long war over different sides. As Christians we are called to be kind and forgive in the face of violence. Perhaps we should respond with love to the acts of hate that are brought down upon us. God responds to us this way. He responds to us with love when we respond to him with hate and anger.
All around us there are pictures of God’s touch in our world. Pictures of the simple blessings all around us.
God reminds us that we need to keep kindness and truth close to us. Even when we are looking at the devastation that comes with violence we are called to be kind. I find that my first response to violence is anger and the desire to return violence. We are supposed to be different than our sinful nature. Even when it is painful to forgive and love those who are committing violence against us.
Please be praying for Charleston, as the community is reeling from this terrible violent act. Please be praying that we will all submit ourselves to the Lord’s authority, rather than seeking to find our own justice.