I have watched a person die before – watched someone battle an illness and lose that battle. I confess – I hated how helpless it made me feel. I remember all too well my feelings of helplessness. I remember feeling powerless to save the person that I loved. I remember being a captive audience with no where to go, no where to look away. I was forced to watch.
And now I find myself a captive audience once again. I have never watched a country die before. I want to look away, but I can’t. I want to help my country, but I have no power, I have no platform, I have no voice. What voice I have is silenced by shame, accusation and innuendo. The Filter only allows voices of agreement and acquiescence to get through. There is no place for dissent in this new order of things. Even big corporations are too cowardly to speak up, unless it is to agree with the rioters in hopes of sparing themselves the wrath of the angry mob.
It is not street names that need to be changed, it is hearts. Can there be a country with no history? A country with amnesia has no character, has no clue who she is or how she came to be who she is today. After every business is burned down, after every beautiful, old building is brought low, after every statue is toppled, every monument and every memorial is defaced and destroyed, every school is renamed, every park renamed, every street, every landmark, every city renamed, what then?
Will there be peace at last? Will the insatiable appetite of the masked, mindless mob of anonymous, angry, faceless, violent vandals at last be satisfied? Will our lives be better then? Will we be freer with every statue gone? With every reminder of our painful past erased, will justice for all now be a reality?
So far I don’t feel any safer or any freer. In fact under the tyrannical reign of political correctness, free speech is quickly disappearing. But I can take hope in these words from Daniel 2:21,
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them.”
“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (Romans 13:1-2)
God is sovereign over all the chaos in the streets of our cities, causing death and destruction day after day, night after night. In a season usually marked by travel, tourists, family vacations, outdoor concerts, eating out and sight seeing, we find ourselves hostages in our own homes in order to escape the violence in our public places such as our streets and our parks.
I am praying that this season of lawlessness will pass and a season of peace will take its place. A season of healing and a season of hope would go a long way to revive the life of our wounded country. If we are no longer free to live our lives without fear, without threat of violence from lawless mobs, then we will no longer be able to hold out the hope of freedom to the oppressed around the globe. We will ourselves have become the oppressed.
Romans 12:9-21 has words that lead us in the direction of living lives of freedom, of peace and of justice.
“Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. . . . Live in harmony with one another. . . . Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is Mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.’ . . . Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
It is hard to put these words into practice, it takes a lot of courage to live this way. But courage is what is called for in times such as these – the courage to speak out truth rather than to look away in silence. No courage is necessary to tear things down; it is not an act of courage but of cowardice to burn a building, block a road or topple a statue. But it takes immeasurable courage to create and to sustain a country where people with differences can live in peace and in safety with the freedom to live their lives as they see fit.
It is my fervent hope that, in Abraham Lincoln’s words, “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” (Gettysburg Address, Nov. 19th, 1863) not on our watch –
sincerely, Grace Day