I remember like it was yesterday. I was sitting on my couch eating lunch watching TV. My wife was at work and I was at home. 9/11 had happened and it literally shook my world. It stopped my wife and I completely in our tracks and held us breathless without an idea on how to help or move forward. We did like most Americans, we did whatever we could to show our unity with our country and fallen brothers and sisters. I felt like even the news had changed. Crime was being reported differently and even declining for a few days it seemed like.
This went on for a while and then we began to hear about it less and less. We began talking about it less and less. The world was slowly starting to turn again, and we began to go back to life as we knew it.
Well, fast forward to 2016 and a host of shootings and terror attacks later and I hate to admit it, but I feel like it’s easier to move on and I don’t want it to be. But it feels like nothing has changed. Tragedy strikes and the level of our concern is high, and in a flash as the news begin to die down we go back to life as usual and we move on.
Now, this post is not a bash on moving on or forward. It’s a call to fight against the routine of being desensitized (is defined as the diminished emotional responsiveness to a negative or aversive stimulus after repeated exposure to it) to tragedy. It’s a call to allow tragedy to wreck our hearts and align our focus on what really matters. It’s a call to not let the media or culture dictate our response as citizens or the church to tragedy.
I know there are people who believe the solution is legislation. And I’m not against legislation, but we must realize that the battle is deeper than that. This may not be a battle that can be won with legislation. You see, you can legislate behavior, but not the heart. And I believe the problem is deeper than behavior.
Matthew 16:18 talks about Jesus endowing his power to the church which is the body of Christ, not the government. Let’s not get distracted, because when we do, the enemy wins on all fronts. We need to know that it’s not about spiritual mysticism (being deep and super spiritual), it’s about a biblical response to evil. I don’t want to fall prey to being desensitized or distracted. I believe I don’t have to. I believe we avoid both when we:
- Know the real enemy – “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
- Fight against being desensitized and distracted; be watchful – “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
- Understand our healing is solely in your connection to God – “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Let’s fight to stay focused and engaged, instead of fighting each other over solutions that don’t target the real problem. Let’s not let the world tell us how to respond or fall for the distraction of thinking government can fix problems that deals with the heart. And by the way, we have the awesome opportunity to help our students lead the church and the world in a new direction. I believe teaching these principles to our students is one of the best things we can do for them, as they lead the church into the future.
Hope it helps,