LOOKING BACK ON A WEEK OF HEARTBREAK

I can't remember this much pain in our country since 9/11.  It's different now of course, because instead of us waking up to an enemy's attack from without, this week we woke up to a nation attacking itself.  Hatred, inflammatory words, fear, rage, guns and murder are being used by Americans to hurt Americans in the most revolting and painful ways. Young men of color are dead, police officers are dead, families mourn inconsolably, our national racial divisions are widening and our political leaders are practically useless. The enemy quietly pours gas on the flames, pulls the strings and smiles.

So we talk. Talking can be therapeutic if it's done in a healthy way and I'm glad people are taking time to dialogue and take a stand.  I do pray that listening, humility, forgiveness, honor and especially nonviolence will shape the conversation more than rage, division, fear, revenge and violence. 

This has been a heartbreaking and exhausting week especially for people of color. Kathy and I, along with our family and staff are standing with our friends and family members of color.  We can see that being black in our society is too often a painful, frightening and grossly unjust experience.  We also stand with our nations police officers, the vast majority of which are brave, honorable and utterly indispensable in our society.  Count us among those who will use their voice to stand for what is right as well as to offer friendship to those in pain.

I have been in six special services this week where these issues have been beautifully addressed.  We had prayer each time, and led a prayer team on these and other issues at the Capitol building in Ohio where I was speaking.  While I was away, our church family prayed together as one, with Pastor Jordan, Pastor Chris, Apostle C and many others offering words and Scriptures to guide everyone.  I've seen so many things I'm proud of on social media from my friends, family and colleagues.  The conversation is alive.

Still, I look back on a week of heartbreak with mixed feelings.  We have such a long way to go, and all the work, pain and tension is overwhelming.  But I still believe that things will be better as the church loves, weeps, prays and leads the way.  Dr. King was an evangelical Christian pastor.  That brings me courage and hope.  

As our hearts are breaking, let's keep the prayer and dialogue going in the spirit of hope.  And let's not forget who the real enemy is.