For many years now, I have refused to watch the news. Not out of apathy for the conflicts in the world, but out of a refusal to be consumed by them. I've found it difficult to balance the awareness of suffering with the refusal to be controlled by it, if all I do is digest everything in the media.
A week or so ago I was listening to a sermon online by Nadia Bolz-Weber. Anyone who knows me is aware that I am inspired by her, and I believe that she is a very important voice in our world today.
In her sermon she was talking about the famous parable of the "Good Samaritan". She was also expressing her concern about the evil and hatred in the world. She spoke about how easy it is to focus on a few acts of evil that we don't notice the amazing acts of kindness that happen all around us, everyday.
In the story she pointed out how it was not a parable of the robbers. It was a parable of the power of a single act of kindness. The robbers are barely mentioned. The rest of the story is focused on mercy and love.
"As Christians we can sit in the suffering, we can name the evil forces of racism and gun violence, we can confess our own complicity and we can lament and protest. But what we can never do is concede more ground to Satan than he himself has claimed. We will not be deceived into reversing the math and believing that evil has the numbers, because it does not. Omar Mateen, the Orlando nightclub shooter was one man. His act of terrorism and murder and hate had a devastating effect on so many lives and the city of Orlando. But you cannot tell me that the evil of one man won when in response millions of people all over the world marched in support and love for those affected. It's not vapid optimism - it's just math. What Omar Mateen intended for evil, God used for good."
We are not denying that evil exists because we choose to give more attention to the good in the world. We are preaching the Gospel; that the kingdom of God is here, now. That God's love is greater than any act of evil in the world, and that it has already won.
As hard as it is, we have to be the light when there is darkness. We are people of resurrection. We serve a God who came to us in Christ to defeat death by death. A God who would rather die on a cross than allow sin and death to have final word. That's the love that conquers hate. That's the love that already won, 2000 years ago. That's the message WE need to tell the world.
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