3 Cities, 7 Deaths…NOW WHAT?!

You’d have to be living under a rock to not know what has been happening in our country over the past week.  There were multiple fatal shootings by police officers being called into question with a public outcry helped by witness’s video, then someone taking the law into his own hands and ending the lives of as many officers as he could while injuring others.  And these are just a few of the tragedies.  I’m not here to debate what happened in any of the situations, people’s posts on Facebook are taking care of that, but we MUST stop and ask ourselves…NOW WHAT?!
An all too common response has become the social media public outcry.  The circumstances of the situation play to merely adjust the tone of the outcry.  Responses tend to range from social media posts or rants blaming one side or another, imploring people to respond and do something this time, showing great sympathy, or calling out the government or POTUS to take action.  Often times gun control is called into question (whether it’s for or against) and, sadly, it usually occurs before the deceased are even laid to rest.
But my question for you is…SO WHAT?!
We can cry out on social media all that we want, but what change is that actually making?

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We’ve become so caught up in the issues that we too often miss the humanity and dignity of the persons involved.

What are you doing to transform the nation we live in?  Too often we think it’s far beyond our reach.

IT’S NOT.

When is the last time you drove by someone who needed help?  Did YOU help?

Do you stop to help cars broken down on the side of the road or at least check to see that they’re okay?  It’s a start.

What is your response when you see someone in need?  Do you make excuses trying to justify why it’s okay or good that you don’t help them?  Maybe you should start by asking them their name.

I recently stopped at a gas station and there was a homeless man sitting outside in the 102 degree heat.  He asked for money.  Immediately I thought that I shouldn’t give him money because he might use it for alcohol.  I told him I’d see what I have when I came out and he expressed gratitude.  He was GRATEFUL that I was willing to even CONSIDER helping him!  In the store I came to the conclusion that giving him some cash really wouldn’t make a difference in my long-term financial outlook, but it could make a difference in his.

I gave him some cash and asked his name.  As soon as I treated him with the dignity he deserved, he responded like a whole new person.  He immediately stood up out of respect for me, even though it was physically difficult for him, then introduced himself as Gary and asked my name.  As we briefly talked he shared that he was a day laborer and got hit by a car a few days earlier.  With a broken foot and busted wrist he can’t work until he gets casts on but is unable get casted until the swelling goes down and he has money for it.  Because of a freak accident he must now resort to begging to survive.  My heart ached for him.  I had to leave and told him I’d be praying for him.  He repeated my name a couple of times and said he’d be praying for me by name.

WHO WAS I TO JUDGE?!

I didn’t know Gary’s situation or circumstances.  I didn’t know his perspective when I saw him sitting there – just like the public often doesn’t know the full perspectives or circumstances of those in the recent tragedies, though we can make a judgment and assume that we do.  Surely if I saw a clip of Gary in video I wouldn’t have know anything about his story.  Yet I took it upon myself to make a pre-conceived judgment and could have gone on about my day with a social media rant that we need to help the homeless population in this city…while personally doing nothing to help.

 

STOP RANTING.          STOP POSTING.          START DOING.

 

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Reach out to someone.

Ask a stranger their name.

Genuinely ask how they’re doing.  And WAIT for a response.

Take off your earbuds and TALK to the person sitting alone at the coffee shop, at a restaurant, or sitting near you at the park.

INTERACT with the people in your area and MEET YOUR NEIGHBORS.

ENCOUNTER the people around you.

And PRAY for those you encounter.

 

There’s so many things we can (and should) do as a response to the chaos and violence we’ve been seeing in recent months.

We just need to *log off* and start doing it.

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2 thoughts on “3 Cities, 7 Deaths…NOW WHAT?!

  1. Nice reflection especially following Good Samaritan gospel of this weekend. Who are we to convince ourselves that the fellow robbed in the road to Jericho brought on his situation and possibly “deserves” his current predicament. We are to treat with mercy. We are to “do the same”.

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