When my kids were young they fought a lot. I didn't want to choose sides because it was important to validate each of their feelings behind the conflict. Plus I knew there was always more to the story that I didn't know. (As an aside, they both still felt I took the other's side on a regular basis--probably because we all can feel that way if someone sees and validates our "opponent's" perspective. We think it means that person agrees with them.)
One phrase another mom used that I adopted was, "I don't like it when one person I love hurts another person I love." I can remember both of them being annoyed that I still loved the other person the same way when they were so clearly wrong. But it didn't matter what they had done to their sibling, it didn't matter what they had done wrong period--my love and my hurt when they were hurt remained unchanged.
In the recent days as we hear about violence and shootings my heart, like so many of yours, aches. And each time I see the debates about who's right and who's wrong I feel like we're just missing the point completely. Today, when I heard of three more officers killed, this phrase jumped into my head as I started to pray. I imagined God, filled with grief, heartbroken over the deaths, saying it.
"I don't like it when one person I love hurts another person I love."
What if we could see that there really is no us and them. What if we could see fellow humans, people who God loves just as much as he loves you and me. For those of us who are Christ-followers, we embrace that we can't do anything to make God love us more or love us less. No sin, no offense, no misinterpretation, no bad theology, no crime, not even rejecting or hating God himself makes God love us less or walk away. That is true of every human on this planet. So shouldn't our hearts break when anyone God loves is gunned down? Even if they "did something to deserve it." Even if they "had it coming."
I can't fix what is broken in our world. There's not a magic solution that will make it all better. There will continue to be violence and anger and fear and heartbreak in this world. But I can make sure I'm not part of the problem. I can love, I can forgive, I can seek forgiveness, I can be open to correction, I can listen to another's perspective, I can weep with those who weep. And most importantly I can pray. I can pray that God will open my heart and open my eyes to those who are hurting around me. I can pray that God softens my heart where it's become calloused. That I don't view anyone as them. That I'm quick to ask forgiveness and quick to seek to understand. That I don't let my fear or my complacency or my biases keep me silent in the face of overwhelming pain and loss. And mostly that my heart becomes like God's, that my love grows big enough to be like God's so that I can look at tragedy and instead of picking a side I can just respond to the pain the tragedy causes.