A tragedy affecting people can be difficult to watch. However, it’s during these times we also see the best of humanity. Finding peace isn’t hard in the face of a natural disaster or bad situation. We see the church coming together to rally supplies, volunteers, money, and of course spiritual refuge and guidance.
We see the believers sharing the love of Jesus, both by sharing the Gospel and being the hands and feet of Christ. We see people crossing political aisles, denominational boundaries, socio-economic statuses, race, ethnicity, gender and more. Believers and non-believers alike come together to share hope and healing.
This past weekend, we watched Hurricane Irma hit Florida. A few weeks ago, Hurricane Harvey did the same. Since then, countless dollars have been donated, supplies gathered, and volunteers dispatched. Also this week, we marked the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Many of us remember the images of President George W. Bush standing with the megaphone at Ground Zero. And many of us can remember those words he said:
“I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” – President George W. Bush, September 2001
This now famous quote embodied each of us as Americans. It didn’t matter what political party we belonged to, where we went to church (if we even went at all), how much money we made, the kind of house we had, car we drove or clothes we wore. It didn’t matter if we were black or white, rich or poor, tall or short. We were Americans, but even more than that, we were humans. Plain and simple.
My point is this: why does it take a tragedy for us to begin finding peace? Why does a natural disaster, or a terrorist attack, or some devastating event for to show kindness, compassion and love? Why does it take a mass casualty event for us to hold our children a little tighter? And why does it take such a situation for us, as Christians, to actually act like Christians?
Instead, we spend our time shaking our heads and wringing our hands complaining about what’s wrong with the world. We blame millennials. Or healthcare legislation. Or global warming proponents. Or the LGBT community. Or people who want to remove statues. Or the people who support keeping them up. Or Hillary Clinton. Or Donald Trump. The list goes on and on. It’s so much easier to attack people in the comments section of an ABC News article on Facebook than it is to get up and do something.
If you’re truly interested in finding peace, it’s time to be the peace. It’s time to move out of the comments section and “angry” reactions on Facebook and do something to advance the Kingdom. When’s the last time you volunteered in the community, helped someone out without expectation of something in return, or even gave to your church? We’re each called to spread the Gospel, and that means more than just speaking empty words.
“Preach the Gospel constantly. And use words if necessary.” – St. Francis of Assisi
Our reactions to the bad things that happen in the world are important. They show a lost, broken, hurting and fallen society that the love of Jesus can heal all wounds, no matter how big or small. But it’s important to remember those responses are equally important even after the needs of the victims of these tragedies have passed. I believe you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who’s ever found Jesus in an argument in the middle of the Comments section of Facebook. As the old cliche goes, we shouldn’t just go to church. We should be the church.
As a Christian, it’s so easy to be offended by what we see in society, and rightfully so. But how you respond to the pain of what you see is what counts. Hurricanes will happen again. Unfortunately, terrorist attacks probably will as well. Remember, our actions speak much louder than our words. How can you use those actions to build up the kingdom?