I wish to address the matters that have our nation on edge at the moment. Rarely do I depart from my usual custom to discuss current social issues. But I must use this small platform now to lend insight and positivity.
We all love America. We all are part of its fabric. We all belong. Unfortunately, it seems that a riptide is slowly pulling us back into a sea we’ve largely crossed, shore sighted. Our nation appears to be slowly Balkanizing, becoming less about “we the people” and more about “us vs. them”, the status quo, minorities, immigrants, and any other bloc.
Then, there is injustice, atrocity, and proliferating terrorist activity that are crippling society with fear, confusion, and distrust. Politicization capitalizes on these issues by forcing people to take sides and keeps them entrenched there—all of this in an already disconcerting election year. And for a while now the media and its polarizing tendencies have been part of the problem.
What We Can Do
We who call on God’s name cannot approach the situation the way the world does. At some point we have to shut off the TV, social media, and our own negative spiel to hear God who really cares about what is happening. Then, we have to make ourselves a starting point for change and healing, in our families, our circles of influence, our communities.
Let me suggest a few things to help us call on our better selves and become part of the solution and not the problem.
Pray. Pray allowing the Holy Spirit to lead. Let him direct your petitions. Pray against the evils of violence, injustice, political strife, and civil unrest. Pray for societal healing, officials at all levels, the safety of our cities, and for God to use the church to facilitate change.
Be Deliberating. I get it: some things you just don’t want to deal with. But rather than becoming desensitized, learn about and discuss these concerns with the people around you. Try to understand all sides. Make important connections statistically, socioeconomically, and historically. Ask tough questions of yourself. Refuse blame and rushing to judgment.
Get Involved. Talk to and query government officials. Make your voice heard at your city council, school board, local chapters, and community involvement groups. Write an Op-Ed for your newspaper. Always vote. And protest, if necessary because sometimes it is.
Talk to a Police Officer. These men and women are regular people just like us. But each day they walk out of their houses putting their safety on the line, for which we are grateful. If there is an opportunity, get their perspective on current issues and ask them how best you can help. Then, you could show appreciation: thank them, pray for them, or buy their meal or give them a gift card.
Be a Neighbor. Do something genuinely nice for someone outside your sphere of influence. Perhaps you could organize a unity event that offers to bring different people groups closer to allow for dialogue.
Let’s refuse to curse the darkness; instead, shine a light. We already have One.