Are you reluctant to turn on the TV or radio these days? I know I am, not wanting to hear more news that brings with it the sadness, grief, anger and helplessness I feel with each act of violence, each loss of life. The abundance of statistics about the numbers shot, killed, injured etc. may be mind numbing but the reality that surrounds those statistics is heart breaking. How then shall I continue on? Do I live numb and uncaring because to do otherwise is too painful? Or do I live broken and bleeding, often for those I have never met, because their pain has become in some measure my own? How can I live with hope and joy when surrounded by death and despair and loss?
From France to Louisiana to Turkey, we are a world weary with our wars. We pray for peace while continuing to hate each other. Who has the courage to turn the other cheek? The families of the nine killed in a Charleston, South Carolina church did. The parents of the five little girls killed in a one room Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster, Penn. did. Unfortunately, forgiveness is the exception rather than the rule. And so we witness the perpetual cycle of violence begetting yet more violence. The cycle continues self-perpetuating and unbroken throughout history. Nothing I know of is strong enough to break this cycle except mercy, shown in the form of forgiveness. This, the most powerful of all acts, forgiveness, is the antidote and the answer to breaking the unbreakable cycle. But it has to be put into practice before it can produce results.
And so we, the world, wait. Wait in fear? Wait in hope? Wait in silence or shout into the din of angry voices already raised? Who will listen? It has been said that all that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to remain silent. Where do we turn? Where should our focus be? Where we look for answers and what we are looking for will determine what we find. Because somewhere in the world simultaneously, we can find what we seek.
somewhere in the world a children’s choir is singing praises to God while elsewhere others are shouting that He does not exist.
somewhere in the world a mother is abandoning her baby on the street, while somewhere else even now, a mother is laying down her life that her child might live.
somewhere, someone is stealing food from their neighbor while somewhere else, someone is sharing what little food they have with a hungry stranger.
somewhere, in a hospital, there are those dedicating their lives to healing the sick and the wounded while outside that hospital there are those dedicated to wounding those who are whole.
somewhere, some are building up homes, schools, churches and hospitals while somewhere else others are tearing them down
somewhere in the world there are those abusing their power and enslaving others, while somewhere else there are those giving their lives so that the prisoner, the slave, the oppressed may live in freedom
for every person who values neither his life nor any other, there are those who know each life is miraculous and valuable to the Creator.
while some are taking all they can get, others are giving all that they have and all that they are in Jesus’ name.
somewhere in the world people are gathered in violent, angry protests while somewhere else in the world people are gathered hand in hand in prayer and petition, pleading for peace
somewhere, someone is taking an eye for an eye, while somewhere else someone is turning the other cheek, giving his adversary the shirt off his back and walking with him the extra mile.
somewhere in the world, someone is exacting revenge even as somewhere else in the world someone is dispensing mercy
the first results in death, the second brings healing and restoration and life and peace
mercy is the miracle that will move the mountains of hatred in our world, if only enough of us had the mustard seed of faith to practice mercy daily
mercy is the precursor to peace
“God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13)
may we each one be both the givers and receivers of mercy each day,
sincerely, Grace Day