Let me first say this — and let my words be faithful but few:
The violence at the Capitol this week was horrific. All violence — save that which is based on “Just War” thinking, in my opinion — is wrong. I found the President’s incitement to be incredulous and injudicious. And while the events of this week do not compare to another, any protest that manifests itself as violence against another’s person or property is illegal and wrong.
Now… a few more somber words…
We’ve witnessed much as we’ve watched the world react. We’ve witnessed the good, bad and the ugly. We’ve seen social media be the bearer of some souls… a pulpit for others… a bully pulpit for still more.
One reaction we’ve seen from the multiples goes something like this: “With all that happened on Wednesday, that doesn’t reflect America. We’re not like this…”
“We’re not like this…”
But what if we are?
For years the way we’ve treated each other has gotten worse…
We’ve justified shame, judgment and sweeping, whole people group conclusions. We’ve been angry — and felt it not only appropriate but also necessary to call another out. We’ve done it publicly — castigating those even with whom we’ve never sat and listened and actually heard from their head and their heart. We’ve called them names. We’ve proclaimed people we’ve never known to be supporters of racism, Marxism, or God-forbid, Hitler. We’ve supported lawmakers whose rhetoric is awful. We’ve cheered. We’ve encouraged canceling. We’ve focused continuously on others’ faults. We’ve thought of them as lesser. With our passions heightened, we’ve ignored moral digression and pushed the boundaries of natural law. We’ve been mad. We’ve been arrogant. We’ve called the different “complicit.” We’ve been lured into looking at politics as a delineation between “good vs. evil.” We’ve picked a singular side. We’ve broken relationship with family and friends until they decide to change, thinking we didn’t “really know” them… also forgetting the days they stood by us at our worst… somehow lured into believing this means more. We’ve hidden behind keyboards, hitting “like” and “retweet” no matter who it hurts. We’ve huddled in tribal thinking, forgetting “where everyone thinks the same, no one really thinks.” We’ve made excuses for the sins of those likeminded because we empathize with what led to the transgression. We’ve extended grace to them and condemnation to the opposite. And we’ve been afraid — afraid that a value we hold dear — whether it be equality, liberty, life or democracy — will no longer be valued.
And so we lash out. Each escalating event gets worse. I heard one man say, “America will go on, but we aren’t ok.” No, we’re not ok.
Because… what if we really are like this?
Let me suggest that after decades of deterioration, there is no easy fix. But what I do know is that it will not be “fixed” by more of the above. It will not be fixed by us huddling in our tribes and proclaiming where everyone else needs to change.
Fixing starts with me. This means a humbling of self, seeking a holy God — someone bigger and wiser and far more knowledgeable and powerful and in control than any person on this planet — someone in whom, absolutely each of us was made like — in his actual image — soberly pleading for healing and forgiveness.
No doubt each of us has something within in need of healing. No doubt forgiveness, too…