It started with the police shootings in Dallas eleven days ago. That was followed six days later by the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice, France. Two days after that was the attempted coup in Turkey, and then yesterday, another attack on police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Each one of these events was announced in the Los Angeles Times with a completely separate front page section called the “Extra,” with huge 3-inch headlines and lots of pictures. It’s almost as if they knew there was going to be a run on horrendous events that would require a new news format for reporting. It makes me wonder what’s happened since I went to bed last night that would need a separate section to cover.
What’s the deal? Why is this happening? It seems we’re being stripped of the social restraints that normally keep society in check. I’m sure some people are reluctant to even step outside their front doors for fear of what might happen. What should be our response to these events as people of faith and representatives of the Gospel of Welcome — grace turned outward?
Here’s a few suggestions:
Don’t be afraid. We’ve spoken about this numerous times, but our ability to know that God is in control and He will not let anything touch us that He won’t provide us with the power to face and manifest His grace through is an important part of our message. Our God is bigger than history and He is working His plan for the world.
Look for opportunities to give a reason for the hope that you have. Hope is rare today. If you have it, people will want to know why.
Treat everyone around you with respect. People are going to be more cautious and suspicious in general and especially towards strangers and foreigners; we are called to be more open and trusting: Love keeps on believing through everything.
Be optimistic. You will stand in contrast to those who are quite the opposite.
Be compassionate. In a way, everyone is a victim of these types of crimes. They strike us at a lot of different levels, some of which we’re not even conscious of. Whatever happens in the world, nothing changes God’s grace. Be ready to comfort others with the comfort you have received from the Lord.
Be bold. Earth-shattering events such as the ones that have been happening in the last few weeks put life on notice. They cause people to think about the bigger questions in life: Who are we? What are we here for? What’s going to happen to us when we die? These are, of course, all questions that lead to God. Be willing to ask them, and lead people along the path that led you to the Lord.