When the shootings in Orlando happened last week I didn’t really care.
I didn’t care when I saw the death toll.
I didn’t care when I saw mothers and fathers screaming in the street on television for their lost children.
I didn’t care that my brothers and sisters had been massacred.
I care now.
I read every name of the people who were killed and now I care. Those names are no longer just a part of 49 people who died in a night club shooting. They are now brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends and lovers. They are not statistics.
Each time a tragedy happens we cannot keep saying things like, “well, we live in a fallen world” and do nothing. We cannot keep seeing images of dead little boys on beaches and say, “my thoughts and prayers are with his family.” We cannot keep having knee-jerk reactions of pity and then forget when the next disaster strikes.
“The victims of injustice in our world do not need our spasms of passion; they need our long obedience in the same direction- our legs and lungs of endurance” -Gary Haugen (founder of IJM).
After I read their names I cried and then felt good about myself because hey, at least I cared. Self-satisfaction is dangerous– it tricks you into thinking you’re doing enough while in reality you’re only making yourself feel better. I was only reconciling myself with the massacres– I wasn’t doing anything to help anyone else’s pain.
Trying your best to stop more pain from coming- that’s justice.
The injustices in the world do not need our guilt-quenching, selfish actions that don’t change anything. The work of justice needs people who are going to fight. We are capable of stopping pain.
Somewhere along the way we get convinced that we do not have any power to stop or lessen the pain of others. We do. We certainly do. Perhaps that’s why people become apathetic- because they don’t think there’s anything that caring can do.
Please, please, please don’t let yourself be convinced into thinking that you don’t have power. You do.
Write a letter, send a text, make a fruit basket, move to Los Angeles, do whatever you think can spread more love in this world because my goodness we need it. The last thing this place needs is another person who doesn’t care.
One last thing. People have been using this events and events like this to push their agendas and I am just so tired and disgusted by it. This shooting was not a punishment from God for being gay. God does not use his children to murder his other children. God does not cause mass shootings. People cause mass shootings. The fire in McMurray was not a punishment for producing fossil fuels. The refugee crisis is not a punishment for Muslim families. It doesn’t matter where you stand on homosexuality, fossil fuels or Islam– these are our brothers and sisters. Divine, designed by God and given life just like the rest of us. They are no different from us.