By Brandy Webb
This week I saw a news article that I am glad I didn’t miss. I don’t watch the news on a regular basis because it usually isn’t edifying but, thankfully, I read a news article that was very much edifying. It was about Charleston, SC and how they reacted to a horrendous attack on their community. Their way of fighting back against violence was beautiful.
Many acts of violence have happened over the years. I don’t know if it is on the rise or if it is because of all the media coverage. I am not a statistician, so I can’t mathematically and scientifically figure out if we have become more violent or not, but the fact remains that we do live in a violent and evil world. What I have noticed that seems to occur more often is that after an act of violence people get angry and react violently. My question is, is that how Jesus would act? Well, I believe I got to see a glimpse of how Jesus would act in how Charleston responded.
Charleston’s response was one of love and unity. Most of you probably already saw the news about the thousands gathering together on Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, but if you haven’t you should definitely look it up because it will give you goose bumps. This bridge is 13,000 feet long. People gathered together holding hands across the bridge. Those who couldn’t find a parking space drove back and forth on the bridge to show support. Boaters anchored underneath the bridge. Their message: peace, love, and unity. It was beautiful to see those people standing on that bridge united instead of them rioting in the streets, getting angry, and creating more problems because of this heinous act. They gathered together without caring about the color of one’s skin, ages of others, different religious beliefs, etc. They were there together with the purpose to show that love never fails.
It gave me hope in humanity. I believe that, regardless of the stats, the majority of us are not ones to fight violence with violence.
What can we learn from this? One major thing is that the power of love and forgiveness is stronger than any act of violence. They are stronger than anything this world can do to us. They are stronger than even death. It is because of an act of love and forgiveness that we have a chance of eternal life. As Christians who proclaim faith in the Messiah, we must remember we are to do what He did and even greater (John 14:12). Therefore, if He can love and forgive when He was completely sinless, we can love and forgive.
He could look at His attackers with love and forgiveness. When He was tortured, He could still love and forgive. When He was nailed to the tree/cross, he could still love and forgive them. This is what it is like to seek the Kingdom of God first, to not allow anything that happens to us right now to stop the power of God within us. His power helps us to love and forgive.
The one way to attack evil and violence is with the most powerful weapon of all, love, and love leads us to forgiveness. Vengeance is God’s, not ours (Rom 12:19). The Messiah taught us to “love our enemies” (Matt 5:44), turn the other cheek (Matt 5:39), “do good to those who hate” us (Luke 6:27), and to forgive if we want to be forgiven (Matt 6:14-15). His way of life is not easy. To walk His walk is a difficult thing to do. But this news article in Charleston, should give us hope that it isn’t impossible. It is possible to show love, unity, forgiveness, and strength.