When something happens like in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston where people were gathered together in love – sharing that love by welcoming a newcomer into their church and then to have violence erupting, we ask why? The answer is painful, it happened because someone hated the color of their skin.
After all we think if we just love our neighbors, do what is right and accept each other than we will be loved in return, except it doesn’t work out that way. Wednesday night June 17 proved that. I read where the shooter said he almost did not go through with it because they were so nice, yet he did. He did not show their love in return because he had evil in his soul.
Countless number of men, women, children are being killed every day, around the world because of their faith in Christ or their ethnicity. Sadly it is not only in Charleston and it is not always black and white, it is everywhere.
Let us put aside our nationality, others accents (lets face it we all have accents) and put blinders on so we do not see color of skin or hair, or if someone is rich or poor. Instead let us focus on the person. Who are the people we see every day; the person standing in line with us at the store, the person who is sitting next to us at the lunch counter, the person walking down the street or the person who we pass to get where we are going?
How can you beyond what you see on the outside and instead see the heart that is beating inside of him or her?
What can you do to change your heart to truly see people instead of their differences, again lets face it we are all different.
What can we learn from this young mans life? What happened to him to make him so full of hatred? How can we heal from this horrific act especially those who were affected in Charleston, in the Middle East, in Africa and our own cities who face this every day?
There has to be an answer. Money is spent on programs, ministries and awareness yet nothing seems to be working. Each day the hatred in someone’s heart grows and does the unthinkable.
No matter what we do we cannot force people to “love” each other. We can do our part, show God’s love in practical ways, be a light of hope in this troubled world, but ultimately we all have free will to choose who to follow; God or satan. God = Love; satan = hatred
I have always liked this verse to me it represents the image of God. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (I Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV). God’s love is not fickle like our earthly love, here one moment and gone the next. God’s love is blind to the outward appearance but sees the heart of a person and goes into the depths of our souls.
Just like what Paul was telling the Corinthians and us today, Gods love goes far beyond what we think love is. God’s love is the image of God.
Loving someone who walked into their church doors, almost worked. The image of God was in the hearts of those people. But a young person choose hate. He turned his back on God and choose instead to kill.
Gods love spoke on Friday and again on Sunday. God’s image shone brightly through the families, the pastors and the citizens of Charleston. The families showed us Gods love by forgiving that young man and asked God to have mercy on him. In that act they presented to the world the image of God – His love that went beyond their grief and suffering.
Should we stop trying to “love one another”, putting money into programs, volunteering in ministries or being advocates by making people aware of the problem. No, because maybe the next time someone will choose Love.
What about you which do you choose? How will you love your neighbor?
God’s Love can break down the barriers of hatred but we all must live it not just say it. Start by looking beyond the race, religion or accent – look into the heart and see God’s love beating there – it is the same love that is beating in your own heart. It is the image of God