The Charleston Aftermath

Last week's shooting in a Charleston church produced a wave of discussion about homeland terrorism, gun control, and racism. It was a horrific act that took the lives of too many. It remind us that after nearly 150 years since slavery ended and after all the work of the civil rights movement that we still have a long ways to go to end racism. 

One of the bright spots--if I dare even say that in proximity to such a tragedy--was hearing the words of the loved ones of the victims to their killer. Their words matched the church meeting that their loved ones died at: words of forgiveness and love, even in the midst of such pain and sorrow. 

I was grieved to see the response of many Christians as echoed in an article by FOX News that the soluution to this tragedy was for those who were at the church that night to have been carrying concealed guns. Did Jesus call us to respond to persecution with retaliation? Did He tell us to kill those who persecute us? Where is it written in the Scriptures that we should strike down our enemy?

It seems to me like Jesus' words and commandments always involved love. He had the plenty of chances to smite His enemies: the moneychangers in the Temple, the Romans who would kill Him as well as forcefully occupying the Promised Land, the religious leaders who wanted Him dead. He had opportunity and probably even righteous reason to smite those ungodly enemies. 

Why loving others so difficult? We are much more likely to be judgmental, vindictive, condemning and even hateful at times. 

I don't believe we can overcome racism or solve our violence problems without love. Carrying conceled weapons won't do it. Violence will only beget violence.