Like most people, when I wake up, I often reach for my phone as if I’ve missed out on some huge event in the 6-8 hours I’ve been asleep. Which means I failed to hug my wife or greet her and many days that’s ok with me. I may tell myself, “She isn’t awake anyway” or “You know if you wake her up she’s just going to be crabby” (Which is true, she’s not a morning person and that’s ok). Yet deep down, I know that my phone is not and should not be my top priority, specifically as a husband. You may be reading this thinking, “What kind of guy is this?” Or you may be thinking, “I do the same thing but I just don’t admit it.” Maybe you don’t do that but maybe you text during dinner when your significant other wants to talk. Maybe you scroll through Instagram while your kid needs you. Maybe you’re on Snapchat taking a million pictures while missing out on the very event that you’re snapping about. Do you see the irony? Maybe you’re the one who won’t look people in the eye when they talk to you. Maybe everytime someone asks you, “How are you doing?” You reply, “I’m good” but deep down you’re not good, you’re nowhere close to good. What stops you from telling someone the truth about your situation or feelings? Is it because you don’t feel united with anyone? My question is: What kind of society do we live in where face-to-face conversations are not just a lost art but they seem to be avoided at all costs?
Some days I look at the events of our society and I feel many emotions from anger to sadness, pity to fear, confusion to hopeless and probably every other emotion known to mankind. I see a country that is divided. I see cities that are divided. I see people groups that are divided. And maybe most importantly, I see a church that is divided. Which reminds me of the Greek storyteller Aesop or the Gospel of Mark or I’m sure many other places where we’ve heard an all familiar phrase, “United we stand, divided we fall.” A person can look across the board at just about any culture, people group, organization, business or government in our society and see just how divided we as people are. Key in point: You are either Democrat or Republican, Black or White, Rich or Poor, Educated or Dumb, Christian or Atheist… Get the point yet? As if that is not enough, the division between us gets worse when you dig deeper. People are not just Democrat or Republican but there are different factions within those two groups. People are not just Black because there are real Blacks and Uncle Toms. People are not just White because there are Trailer Trash and Upper Class. People are not just Educated but if you go to Harvard compared to your local technical or community college your education will be looked at differently. Even us as Christians, we are not just Christian, we are either Pentecostal or Baptist, Methodist or Lutheran, etc. and the list could go on but I will spare us all the boring details.
Then there is the issue of Black Lives Matter vs. Blue Lives Matter as if a person can’t believe both. As a man of faith and conviction, I am DISTURBED, genuinely disturbed, when a Black man loses his life at the hands of police. Yet, I am also disturbed when two Black babies on the North side of Minneapolis are shot at the hands of another Black person and there is no protesting. I am disturbed when police, like the 5 in Dallas, are killed in the line of duty. I am disturbed when 4 Minneapolis police officers walk off the job (working security at the game I assume) at the Minnesota Lynx game at Target Center because Lynx players had warm-up shirts that had silent protest writings on them. What’s disturbing is obvious yet what’s disturbing is also not so obvious. Obviously the loss of life is a tragedy yet what is also tragic is the fact that we believe that we have to pick sides in this current state of our nation. Don’t get me wrong, I know there is a problem with police brutality. I know racism is real on both sides of the fence. I know racial profiling exists because I’ve been a victim to it all too often. Yet that doesn’t mean that I have to pick sides. I believe Black Lives Matter. I believe Blue Lives Matter. I believe All Lives Matter and I am not going to be swayed into biting the bait set out for us all. Satan loves division and by the looks of my Facebook timeline, he is enjoying himself an awful lot lately.
Today I almost lost faith in humanity because of the viral videos of young men being shot by police. Today I almost lost faith in humanity because I saw a video of a 13 year old boy standing over his Daddy’s casket- a fallen Dallas police officer. Today I almost lost faith in humanity because in my city there are tons of churches but none of them want to break down the barriers of denominations, doctrines and philosophies and unite together. Then I went to my church and during worship my little nephew Israel came to me and wanted me to pick him up and so I did. He hugged me for about 5 minutes without letting go and it was as if, the Lord was saying to me, “Son, you need a hug- a small gesture of love- to let you know that I have everything under control.”
Do you need a hug today? Hug somebody you love. Hug a stranger. Sometimes we all need a hug.
Isn’t it ironic that as a society we’ve escorted God right out of our lives, schools, jobs and communities yet we turn around and have the audacity to ask “Where’s God?” when tragedy strikes?
I leave you with this: 2 Chronicles 7:14– Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.