What should we do in a time of tragedy?

What should we do in a time of tragedy?

“The World Teetering between Tragedies”
“Tragedies; direct affronts to our humanity, an insult to all who care about liberty, justice,  and the value of human life.”
“Tragedy ignored today will be on our doorstep tomorrow.”

These are three taglines that have stayed with me this week.

1 Corinthians 12:26 says: If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored all rejoice together.

These past weeks, months, and years have surely shown us to be a “world teetering between tragedies!” An emotional roller coaster, we have suffered senseless injustices not only in Dallas but in St. Paul, Baton Rouge, Orlando and Chicago to name a few. However, even as we grieve these horrific affronts to humanity we simultaneously find hope in the heroic acts of love that surface because of them.

For many the question now becomes, where do we go from here? What part can and should Christians play in alleviating the tensions that exist, in our own hearts and in the hearts of citizens across our city, state, and nation?   It is time to move past speaking against the atrocities into action. But, HOW!

I do not profess to know all the answers. What I do know is how I/we choose to respond to the pain and suffering of our community will either draw people to the faith or push people away.

Our nation is broken! The wounds continue to fester and they cause disunity amongst our many parts. The only way beyond the hatred and fear is through the Gospel message of Christ’s redeeming love. (John 14:1) Our Lord is the one who can mightily restore and heals our wounds. (Jer. 30:17)

I loved Kolby’s June blog “Tell It Slant.” How can we effectively profess Christ’s love to a hurting city if they are not ready to hear it? I believe his Emily Dickinson quote has it right! We are to “Tell all the truth but tell it slant.” I contend, in this crisis one of the “slants” is to come in the form of giving personally and sacrificially as St. Francis of Assisi prescribed in his famous quote, “Preach the Gospel, and if necessary use words.” We are to give of ourselves not in word but in merciful deeds to those in our communities that feel misunderstood and inconsequential. This isn’t a once off type of giving but perpetual acts of love just as Christ gives to us. Because the hard truth is, if we don’t seek to bridge the divide with godliness these horrific tragedies will continue to rest upon our doorsteps of tomorrow!

It is by “guarding each man’s dignity and saving each man’s pride” (“They Will Know We Are Christians” by Peter R. Scholtes- inspired by John 13:35) that we will help bridge the chasm between the divisions that polarize our great nation.

I leave you with a few questions I ask myself that might help you too to determine how to give your life as a ransom for others (Matt 20:28, Mark 10:45, John 13:1-17):

  1. When you come across a person or people set in need – Do you think about what it will cost you if you extend your hand in loving assistance?
  2. Or, do you think about what it will cost them if you don’t?

Matthew West’s song “Do Something” asks and answers the question of our time when he sings:

I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now…
How’s it ever gonna turn around….
I said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you!”

May it be forever so for each of us. Amen



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