In 1920, British troops fired into the crowd at a football match in Dublin in retaliation for the killing of British undercover agents. It was during the Irish War of Independence, and 32 people lost their lives that day. That tragic event would later be referred to as “Bloody Sunday.” Unfortunately that was not the last atrocity to adopt that title. It should sadden us all that such events happen many times within our lifetime.
Once again, we have another bloody Sunday. This last Sunday for reasons we may never fully know, a man fired a massive amount of shots into a crowd in Las Vegas. As soon as the news broke, the world spins its gears, looking for someone or something to blame.
We want a simple and easy explanation for this kind of violence. If the cause is simple then we believe the solution is just as simple. Some will blame guns, others politics, others race, and the debates on social media will continue to stir the fire with each side certain of their moral superiority.
The news feels less informative these days and more like an ideological recruitment center. Whatever opinion you may have, there is a media outlet willing to cater to you.
So what do Christians do in moments like these? As the world succumbs to panic and political positioning, how do we respond? Do we spend countless hours making arguments on the NFL and the national anthem, gun control or some other future event that will further polarize humanity? Or is there a more Christ-like way to respond?
I wish I had some really sage advice, but I have been trying to figure out how to balance this in my own life as well. Personally, I have always enjoyed debating, and I tend to have really strong opinions on just about everything. It took me awhile, but I finally learned that Facebook or any other means of social media is a terrible place for debating opinions.
Whenever I feel the desire to join in on the collective outrage, I just stop and walk away. I have made it a point to spend much more time reading books than reading my Facebook feed. This has been really helpful because books are not just knee-jerk reactions like we find online, they required the author to pause and think about what they wanted to say.
Spending less time immersed in the drama of the world has helped me focus on what really matters. One thing that I am certain of is that the Gospel is the only solution to the issues that really plague us. Our problems are not just political, racial or financial, our problem is our humanity. Even though we are human we are also much more.
Paul reminds the church in Corinth of this when he tells them, “For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” (1 Cor. 3:3). He sees humanity as the issue, while also recognizing that they are more than just humans; they are created in the image of God.
Since the Gospel is the only real solution, I try to tell it and live it as much as possible. Telling others about my view on gun control won’t get them into heaven. That doesn’t mean these social issues are not important, but let us always look at them through the lens of the Gospel.
I want to encourage you, as the media fury ramps up once again, realize that God has a solution, and He has charged you with spreading the cure to others. We do not live our lives based upon fear or hatred, these things may bring in the ratings, but they do not produce the peace and rest our souls need.
So how do we respond in these situations? The Bible is clear. We love our neighbors and our enemies because Christ first loved us. May God grant us peace within our hearts, so we can build peace with our words and hands.