“Truth is such a rare thing; it is delightful to tell it.” Emily Dickinson.
This week the San Bernardino shooting made us pause and hunch over for just a moment to dig beneath the shiny objects shoved in our faces. Here in LA, the fame monster has subtly terrorized our psyche and lulled us into a false sense of security. After all, this is the city of Angels and the Kardashians, the Housewives, the Über falsetto, the Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 tearing down PCH by a guy with prepubescent tendencies flashing a business card promoting ‘Robotic Entertainment.’
Darn it! This is supposed to be the place of dreams, of stars paved into Hollywood Boulevard, a sanctuary city, or as James Frey writes, the city of the “Bright Shiny Morning.” So when something as primal as a couple with a voracious appetite for human blood, fueled by misguided ideologies and armed with automatic rifles and pipe bombs go hunting in an office building, our glamorous sensibilities are jolted.
It reads like a bad commercial on Hulu, an unwelcome interruption. Only this is real. People died. People were wounded. Communities and families are devastated, and a six-month-old boy was left behind before being adequately weaned off his mother’s milk. Now we seek the information like it’s air, and news channels are pumping us full of every detail and nuance. We want to know everything we can about this same couple that we would have ignored if they were shopping in our local Ralphs, probably put off by her hijab or burka.
The solid foundation of God stands, “The Lord knows those who are His.” And we are known for the love we accept and then extend. The truth of love has strayed away from many religions. Profane babbling and messages of hatred spread like rabid cancer, and we have no clue who has been infected. We, as vessels all look the same.
Vessels are made, some for honor and some for dishonor, and we get to chose which we want to be. My prayer is for those who have been deceived to imbibe a religion of death, that “they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having being taken captive to do his will.”*
The Truth: God is love. A powerful God will not condone or inspire the slaughter of innocent people. A true God is not edified by the heartbreak and suffering inflicted by senseless violence and terror. He does not need anyone to kill, nor maim nor hurt us, people He lovingly created in His own image.
God wants us to live and not die. When these perpetrators of violence say, God willing, it is obvious they have confused their hatred with God’s will that “we prosper, be in health even as our souls prosper.” Jesus the Son, the Prince of peace, was crucified to put an end to every form of sacrifice, humans or animals alike. Proverbs 29 reminds us that “The bloodthirsty hate the blameless; the upright seeks another’s wellbeing.”
Anyone who hates his brother or sister in his heart has disobeyed the highest calling of humanity because strife and hatred are twin petri-dishes for every other evil. Love is a commandment, a living truth that’s so beautiful, it should be told and reflected in all we do.
May the God of all comfort, console those who mourn. May those left behind reject any root of bitterness and may we respond to this assault on our city with grace and love.
Image Credit – Pixabay, *2 Timothy 2:26.