In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks it seems death, destruction and evil are raising its nasty head once again. For some of us, this is just one more such event added to a list of death and destructions. For others, this is the first such event we have witnessed played out on news and social media. Either way it strikes shock, fear, hopelessness, and mayhem. It is unimaginable to most sensible people how anyone or group could attack innocent people with such fervor, violence, hatred and organization. There is no logical explanation for any attack on the innocent. We might find ourselves full of hate, anger, and rage which are all natural emotions when we see images of the attacks. So what do we do? How do we respond if we proclaim we are followers of Jesus? We basically have only two options: first we can accept what has happened, add it to the list of tragedies we have witnessed in our life time, and accept the fact there will be more added to the list as well. We can easily change our Facebook photo to red, white, and blue, move on with our life, and “do” nothing more than add another layer of callousness over our protected souls. These can be great coping mechanisms if we are solely believers in Jesus but not if we are followers of Jesus.
If we are followers of Jesus our second option is to use Jesus’ life, words, and instructions in times such as these. I am reminded of Jesus’ last instructions to all His disciples before he ascended into heaven. Just like a coach giving a pregame speech to the disciples Jesus fires them up to change the world. Hearing the words of the resurrected Jesus, I envisioned the disciples running down the mountain fired up and ready to do exactly what Jesus told them to do. Instead they stood still looking up, frozen in time, doing nothing. We can’t blame the disciples because we are like that as well. Jesus’ instruction said simply to go love people. Jesus said go care for them, notice them, serve them, meet their needs, and love them as you would like to beloved. Do something don’t just stand here looking up. So what can we do in wake of the Paris tragedy or any other attack? We can stop staring at the sky, hoping for an answer, or waiting for someone else to come along. We can begin to love where we are. We might not be able to travel to France but we can begin to love here. We can begin to heal here. We begin by implement three vital habits. First habit is to be present for those we love in our life. Turn off the television, turn off the volume social media has on us, and focus on those whom God has placed in front of us today. Especially if you have young children in your life as they are sacred and are looking to adults for reassurance, safety, and protection. Second habit is to be prayerful. Pray for France. Pray for peace. Pray for the innocent families directly impacted by this horrible act. Pray that God’s grace, love, and mercy will be the light in a dark world. Pray with your children and grandchildren. Let them witness and participate in relevant faith. Prayer opens us up to Gods perspective. The last habit is to be perceptive. Stop looking up and look around you. You will find others that feel the same as you. Let there be strength, comfort and hope in community. It is unrealistic that you can directly help those in Paris but you can help those in our own community. When we do acts of kindness and love for others good wins over evil even if evil is manifested in another country. It demonstrates to the world that we as followers of Jesus are people of love, mercy, and forgiveness. These core virtues are contrary to those of the attackers. When love wins here, love wins everywhere. We must realize the opportunities to love that God places in our lives on a daily basis. God will not lead you somewhere He has no intention of using you. So let us stop looking up, let’s run down the mountain, and love as Jesus calls us to love. Then with the light of God’s love shining through us, on an individual basis, our dark world will become brighter: one life at a time.
Serve, Love and be Happy: