America is Burning
I am appalled and dismayed at the destructive chaos and havoc welling up in major cities across our nation. Here is a sampling I found on the internet today.
- Minneapolis, WI: Hundreds of millions of dollars in damage from rioting and looting.
- Portland, OR has seen more than 50 consecutive days of rioting and lawlessness
- Seattle, WA: “The rioters had no regard for the public’s safety, for officers’ safety or for the businesses and property that they destroyed” (Carmen Best).
- Austin, TX had a fatal shooting amidst rioting (no police involved).
- Aurora, CO: Demonstrators pushed down a fence, threw objects at police officers, broke windows and started a fire inside the city’s courthouse on Saturday night.
- Oakland, CA: Hundreds of protesters marched through downtown Oakland, smashing windows of the city’s police headquarters, and setting a fire inside the Alameda County courthouse.
- Columbus, OH: Over 100 businesses have been vandalized, along with numerous government buildings.
- Richmond, VA: Official vehicles, including a Rapid Transit bus, were torched.
This is heart-breaking. America is inflamed and in flames.
We could spend time and energy debating whose fault it is. Everybody has an opinion; but nobody has the full truth. This is such a convoluted matter, with provocation from all sides. Whoever tries to answer “whose fault” might as well try to untie the Gordian Knot, too.
In truth, it seems to me that rather than affixing blame and justifying destructive behavior, we would spend our energy and efforts more wisely in finding solutions that address every participant’s concerns.
A favorite movie line is from Dune. Gurney Halleck while training Paul Atreides observed, “The slow blade penetrates the shield.” This is a great metaphor for life. The louder one shouts, the more the other resists and shouts back. In this situation, the slow blade equals well-considered answers diplomatically delivered. Or, as King Solomon wisely once said, “when a city is set aflame, wise men turn away anger” (Prov. 29:8). He also said this: “When men do not understand (the path to) justice, those who seek Yahweh understand all things” (Prov. 28:5). There are answers in the mind of our God; we should look there to calm our country.
This level of diplomacy is beyond me; you, too, probably. So, what can we do? I see three responses/reactions open to us. We can wring our hands and wish it were different. We can let the aggrieved actions fan the flames of malcontent in our hearts. Or we can pray about it.
The first two, I foresee, will accomplish little; they might even aggravate the situation. But the third has real possibilities for the believer. I ask you for three prayers: Pray that God heal our nation; a genuine deep healing, so that we can avoid another civil war. Pray that God grant great wisdom to our leaders from both sides of the aisle, so that they can look beyond partisanship and work together to genuinely close the growing schism. And pray for yourself, that you can hold forth hope for our future.
In closing, please consider the heart of the man who posted this on Facebook.
“I look around and see so much fear, people getting more and more comfortable with their hate, more at ease being mean, more united in their separation. And I think, NO. Not me. I will not get lost in this fearful world. I will not play with bullies. I will continue to be brave and kind. I will speak for real unity. And no matter what, I will never stop loving” (Scott Stabile).
Always be kind and loving. Pray and never stop.