When a tragedy, such as the recent events in Florida, strikes, I find myself either staring at the television in horror or running from every form of media because my heart is too broken to bear any more. I know individuals respond to loss differently. Some weep, some grow angry, some experience the entire cycle of grief. However, I’ve noticed there is one thing we all have in common: we all want right to prevail and bad to end.
I suspect one of the reasons we read or watch a story is to escape from those bad things. I know one of the reasons I enjoy crime shows, superhero movies, and mystery books is because there are clear good guys and bad guys and good always wins (and usually almost dies trying). It is comforting to leave the real world – where the lines are not so black and white – for a time and see justice prevail in the end.
But life is not so simple. We want it to be. We crave for peace, but want to win the argument with our significant other, friend, or roommate. We dream of an end to violence, but feel our anger rise in indignation when we or our loved ones are injured. The pieces just aren’t as clear as we want them to be and I believe it is because this world is broken. It’s hurting and we are in great need of a healer, a peacemaker, someone to reconcile the brokenhearted.
Many people may not agree with me here, but this is one of my favorite concepts I find in the Bible: I believe God can be the healer for whom we wish, but also that he has called his children to be his ambassadors in reconciliation. We are the hug that comforts, sitting silently by as a friend cries on our shoulder, the shield protecting the innocent, the one bringing food and water to a stranger, the peacemaker.
How do we do that? How can we be a reconciler? My favorite Bible passage is one that runs through my mind each time another man-made tragedy occurs. It’s Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (ESV) As our ire is raised at the evil, I truly believe it is humble, loving actions that will defeat it and bring the healing so needed in our world.
In Ecclesiastes, King Solomon – the wealthiest, wisest man of his time – recites reason after reason why life is fruitless, meaningless. Nothing is new under the sun, he claims. But his study of the human condition has a conclusion and it is this: “…Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (12:13-14, ESV).
May it be so.