Way back in time, we were introduced to televised news. The invention brought us closer to events that shocked, disturbed and incited many. As years passed, we became used to this means of communication. We relied on it to predict coming storms, to shape our investments and to make plans for the day and week to come.
In the years between 1955 and 1975, the war in Viet Nam played out on those same TV sets as we ate our frozen dinners. We watched the war unfold as imbedded reporters and photographers showed the horrific details. We watched with intense fear and wondered why. We viewed a sitting president mortally shot in the head. We witnessed his killer apprehended and arrested. We looked on in disbelief as the assassin was then killed by a man connected to organized crime. For years following we saw others shot and killed for various political and social issues, All of this unfolded right before our eyes.
In the 1960s we saw fire hoses douse riots and billy clubs used to assault crowds of protesters who only wanted to be heard. Soon the electronic industry introduced us to instant news – on the spot reporting – through the world wide web.
This past week in my city and in others around my country, a flame has turned into a firestorm and more than businesses have been destroyed. Property has been stolen by a group of thugs who have no interest in bringing about change to a broken system. For one full week, we’ve sat in front of our television sets, intent on our computer screens and phones, waiting for the next horrific act to unfold before our eyes. Have we become the Romans of ancient days, who sat in the colosseum waiting for Christians to be devoured by hungry lions?
Yesterday, my heart ached not only for my city, but for my country and the world we inhabit. I was overwhelmed by the destruction. I was moved by the peaceful protests. I was shocked by how quickly that peace could be disrupted.
Words cannot heal the scars of something that’s been festering since the days when man was first enslaved by other men – when they were deemed as property and not human beings.
It will take a long time for us to sort through all of this. The battle against racial injustice will not happen over night. It will not gain strength through creating volatile situations. Violence isn’t the answer, even when it gets the attention of those who we’ve elected to govern us.
What we find in the ashes will provide the answers for much of what we’ve experienced in our civil unrest. When we turn our focus to the core issues, there is hope. When our hope is in the Lord, we will be renewed – even in these times of tribulation. We must not live in fear – not of a virus nor of a malady that lies deep within our souls and rips away at our conscience. The world is full of evil and destruction on many levels, but we can’t allow them to overtake us.