“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” -Ganhdi
The course of history has been changed. For better or worse, well, everyone will have an opinion on that. Who is right or wrong probably won’t matter. That is the shame of it all.
Last night, while awaiting the showdown on Celebrity Apprentice between Nene Leakes and Star Jones, (which, I still don’t know the outcome of) the President interrupted programming to announce to the nation that Osama bin Laden had been killed by Americans. I know that many waved their arms in triumph or whooped with pride, but I sat dazed and in disbelief. “Is this what we’ve come to?” I asked myself. Followed with “How did we get here?”. The answer is not so simple, but speaks of years of intolerance in the name of retribution and protection. “Terrorists must not win!”. But have we, as Americans, become the terrorists? As Christians, how can we rejoice in this so called American victory when the death of any person causes our Lord so much grief? After all, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, even our enemies, for the Lord rejoices when a heart is changed, but grieves at the loss of life, both physically and spiritually. And let’s be honest, if we are taking that life, we have definitely experienced spiritual death.
My soul is troubled. Ganhdi once said “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of it’s peoples”. I fear our soul is terribly blemished. I hope I’m not the only one who is troubled. It is disappointing that people rejoice in our nation airing a broadcast that justifies killing. The realization that Joseph Heller was right in Catch-22 when he realizes “man is matter” is heartbreaking. Aren’t we all supposed to want to be more?
I’m disappointed that we are so base that we rejoice in death. I
disappointed that as Americans, we think we have won some glorious victory, but we have actually lost our humanity. We have become cannibals and it is ugly. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love”. He would be dismayed to see how much further we have degenerated as a nation instead of rising above and living a life with love in our hearts. Mother Teresa said “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other”. I fear we forgot a long time ago, and it’s sad that our leaders are not urging us to remember.
Perhaps the most troubling to me, is that this is not over. It has only just begun. We, as a nation, have said through our actions, that killing is justified, as long as we are doing the killing. Our soldiers are still fighting-for what or how long I don’t know. Our children are becoming callouses and jaded-intolerant of others, even amongst themselves. We are falling apart at the seams. And yet, there is celebrating. What in the world are we celebrating?
I hope that I can remain faithful to my convictions to learn to love like Jesus. I hope that I can serve as an example. Ganhdi said, “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world-that is the myth of the atomic age-as in being able to remake ourselves”. I find comfort in this. It helps me remain steadfast in my moments of weakness and sadness. It is encouraging. Mostly, it is empowering. After all, when we are weak, He is strong.
So, I invite you to love more; smile at others, seek to beat your swords into plowshares, and care for one another. And weep at injustice and intolerance, while seeking to be a beacon in these troubled times. I find solace in this prayer of Francis of Assisi-perhaps it will offer you comfort as well. “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love”.