By: Amber Harder, Communications Specialist
The last few weeks have been challenging ones for me. Our nation and our world seem to be an ever-growing tangle of hostility and fear. I find myself paralyzed, unsure of who I can trust and wondering all the while about the condition of the hearts of those in my day-to-day life.
A few weeks ago I was so overwhelmed that I just wanted to shut the shades, pull the bed sheets over my head and hide from it all. It seemed safer and easier than doing anything about the animosity that seemed to be ever more powerful in the world.
With increased hate-incited incidents showing up nation-wide and even in our own metropolitan area, I fear for my own biracial family as well as my family, friends, and neighbors who fall into groups who have been the target of resentment and violence.
As I thought about all these treasured people, I wanted to reach out to them in some way and let them know I cared about them and would have their backs no matter what. However, I felt timid and awkward in doing this, so naturally just put it off. For weeks.
The other day I was driving through my neighborhood and saw a neighbor of mine who I wanted to reach out to, but hadn’t yet. I battled in my head – should I stop? Should I keep going? I had two seconds of courage, so I pulled over on the street by his house and called him over to my open window. I let him know that the last few weeks were tough for me and I wondered if they were for him too. I told him that I love him. I told him that my family loves him and that we are so happy he is our neighbor. I told him I want him to feel safe in our neighborhood and that I would have his back.
And you know what happened?
He looked at me with tears in his eyes, squeezed my hand, and told me how much it meant to him to hear that. He shared how hard the last few weeks have been and how he is looking around his community with new eyes, wondering who is safe. Wondering, like me, about the condition of people’s hearts.
I was so glad God gave me the courage to reach out. I especially wanted to do so because I know my neighbors know my family’s routines. I know they see us leave for church each Sunday morning and believe us to be Christians. And honestly, the title of Christian has been tarnished and wrapped up with words and acts of hate instead of Jesus’ message of love. I want my neighbors to know that I am a Christian and I am not going to judge them. I am not going to persecute them. I am going to love them.
I believe love speaks more of God than anger, fear and hate ever will.
So while the future seems uncertain and there are times when fear grips my heart, I am moving forward with love. I want to start in my own circle – my family, friends, and neighbors, and then move from there to my community and world. I believe we all have been given the power to love and therefore positively influence the world around us.
I find it no coincidence that our upcoming series at church is “Peace on Earth: Bringing Calm to a World of Crisis.” God has a way of giving me exactly what I need, sometimes even before I realize I need it. I look forward to journeying with you in this series to learn how we can all bring “much-needed peace and joy to our fragmented world.” Lord knows we need it, and as His followers, it’s up to us to bring His message of love here on Earth.
Photo Credit: We Choose Love