More Love, Less Politics: The Sandy Hook Tragedy
Already, what happened in Connecticut has become political. More guns. Fewer guns. More God in school. Less God in school. Meaningless online petitions. Impassioned Facebook posts which exact some strong emotion and a dozen like-minded responses, or a new profile picture with a candle. Nice.
Sympathetically, our nation weeps. Our President Obama has capably stepped in as he would in any major tragedy, to offer comfort. Our churches cry out across the nation. We need to wrap our heads and hearts around this, yet know we cannot. It is too big, but we must try.
Meanwhile, the people immediately around us need our love, not our politics. They need us to call them, to ask them how they are, to invite them for dinner, or to just sit quietly over coffee or wine.
It is easy to join the water cooler soldiers for righteousness. I live in Illinois and have no connection to the Connecticut tragedy. I cannot make a difference there. Some of you actually can. You know those directly impacted. But here, hundreds of miles away, who can I love?
That said, of course everyone killed breaks my heart, including the gunman himself. Which life didn't God love? Did He love the children more than the adults? Did He love the killer more than the killed or less?
Our neighbors, who we should love, go through big and large sufferings daily. The suffering elderly, the scared unwed mom, the inmate lonely in jail, the hungry, the cold, the unclothed, the guy who lost his job, the high school kid whose girlfriend just dumped him for another guy - it goes on, and God so, so ... so loved the world that He gave us His son. He loved us 2,000 years ago and loves us, them... we, today and tomorrow. May the tragedy at Sandy Hook not outshine our need to love our neighbor.
It is harder to love our neighbor as yourself. Atheists as well as believers in any deity should understand this. I'm not going to convince the atheist that my Lord is real, nor do I care that they think my beliefs are misguided. That's a wholly different discussion. I do hope anyone reading this, though, looks directly to the east, west, south and north of their home, cubicle, train commute, grocery store line or coffee shop table and asks if there is something they can do to love their neighbor.
Maybe you have no idea how. Fair enough. Try asking about them. Listen. Then be ready to respond. Love might take the cost of dinner, but it might just take a half hour hearing their heart, or, maybe, just talking about something seemingly trite, like the Chicago Bears' awful season. Maybe it takes investment, like calling them next week too.
More love, less politics.