Two weeks ago, I had the awful experience of driving home to find our street lined with police, sheriffs, news trucks and yellow tape. Not able to pass, I pulled over. Then I saw it — a body laying in a driveway covered with a yellow tarp. Apparently, a man kidnapped a woman, a 10 year-old boy, drove for 10 miles, and randomly ended up in my neighbors' driveway. She sustained gunshot wounds but survived. He turned the gun on himself and died at the scene. At the urging of a 911 operator, the boy knocked on the nearest door for help
A homicide a few doors away is upsetting. Later in evening I began scrolling my news app for answers. By then this story was buried in the head lines. The headlines leading by then were about bathroom bill, White House staffing changes, Heat wave, North Korean missiles, POTUS’ Twitter account, collusion with Russian, et al. It bothered me that it was buried so quickly. A life was lost. Another almost taken. A young boy abducted and it felt like “yesterday’s news”…except that it was the same day.
The news-as-entertainment is designed to create an emotional response. And our country is riding a roller coaster of emotions! Media maintains ratings by absorbing stories at lightening speed while strategically painting stories in extreme light. It’s normal to feel outrage, offense, sorrow, or even fear. But emotions shouldn't be the final word any more than indifference.
Jesus says, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God’ (Mt.5). Like getting a new lens or outlook on life, the ‘Pure in heart’ see God in poverty, in crisis, in racism and willingly insert themselves on behalf of justice. We become 'pure in heart' when we identify AS & WITH a fallen one. I’m able to show mercy, offer hospitality, practice generosity WITHOUT needing you to have all the right reactions. I’m able to serve without recognition or give without re-payment BECAUSE I see God as my audience more than I see the recipient. My gift—from the heart—is to God. It could be my tithes, my time, my skills but my life is an offering to God, which can be most freeing. The Beatitudes in Matthew 5, reminds us of how to be citizens of heaven and earth…
Blessed are the poor in spirit (aka - the 'fallen ones', which includes me).
Blessed are those who mourn (that is, mourning over & with fallen ones)
Blessed are the meek (ones able to trust God in the process without succumbing to accusation, violence or even apathy)
Blessed are those who hunger & thirst for righteousness (because our desires can lead to personal change AND allow us to be light in a dark world)
Blessed are the merciful (because they know they’ve already received mercy)
Here’s to a Living Faith & hearts made new!