“Why can’t we all just get along? People fight and argue, back bite and slander, sue, divorce and murder. No good comes from retaliation. There is no victory in vengeance. Life is messy. Relationships are work. Love people where they are. Focus on the good and forgive quickly, fully and deeply. #lovewins ”
I posted the above words on my Instagram feed yesterday morning.
Day before yesterday, I happened to look at a few of hashtags associated with the middle east violence. It seemed as though it had been a while since I had heard anything about the terror going on there …
and …. well ….
we all know that the media quickly moves from one attention-getting topic to another. Just because we haven’t heard anything … doesn’t mean that the terror reigning there has stopped or even slightly improved.
As I scrolled through the photos associated with hashtags, I saw images with the words, “Je suis Charlie,”
but at the time, I didn’t know about the attack in France. It had only happened a few hours earlier.
Yesterday, I heard.
I heard about the men who stormed the office of the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo.
I heard about the editor who had been provided police protection after death threats upon his life over a year ago.
I heard about the eight journalists, a lone guest and two police officers who were murdered.
And today … the people across the world are linking arms through imagery and proclaiming,
“I am Charlie” or “Je suis Charlie,” in French.
You know what I see when I see those “Je suis Charlie” signs?
I see “JE SUIS Charlie.”
Do you see it?
“I” am sandwiched right there in the middle of “JESUS.”
Me. And Jesus. Together.
And the translation for Je suis Charlie is I am Charlie.
Do you see that?
“I am” is the name God called Himself in Exodus 3:14.
The I am Charlie signs are proclaiming solidarity
… in part, for freedom of speech …
and that … truly … those killed could have been any one of us.
In a way, I am Charlie. And you are Charlie. We are all Charlie.
Any one of us COULD have been one of those people shot.
We are all one. We are all connected. We all have rights and freedoms.
I don’t know about you, but I feel so discouraged at times knowing
I can’t make a difference in the far away places that are riddled with violence.
ALL.the.time, I say
“Life is messy. Relationships are work. Love people where they are.”
And you know what? We can’t fix everything, but we can help some things. We can influence.
I thought all day yesterday about this terror and these messes and the chaos and the spiraling of this world
that often feels out of control.
What can we do? How can we help?
Some people aspire to change the world or to influence thousands,
but for most of us, the greatest influence we will ever have in our lives
is the influence on our own immediate family …
those that live with us day after day in our home … our children and our spouse.
And what do we know about people?
Well, we know that people who are wounded often wound others.
People that come from abuse, often abuse others.
So, we DO have some power in our homes to shape lives.
First, we become aware of our own junk, pains and habits.
We figure out why we do what we do and if it’s healthy or harmful.
Then we make changes to become more healthy
and talk about our stuff so our kids can see us working, changing and healing.
We tell our stories. In telling our stories, we help others know they are not alone
which encourages them to make changes, as well.
We love people where they are, but don’t pick up their bad habits
so that we further the cycle of pain.
We forgive those that hurt us.
We offer mercy.
This is tough work. But, with Christ’s power within us and His leading our spirit, we can do this. With Jesus example to follow, we turn the other cheek. We don’t force our ideas or opinions on others. We offer ourselves. We just love. Love people.
Last night, I googled “How can I promote world peace?”
This was one of the top hits.
This is it. This is where we have our influence. This is where we change things.
This is how we can promote world peace … in our own small (or great!) way.
It may not feel like much today, but the influence you have today can truly change tomorrow’s world. We don’t know who our children will become. They can be great peace keepers or they may wreak havoc. They may build up or they may tear down. Truly, each soul has the potential to influence many. As much as it is possible, forgive, extend grace and offer mercy.
Love people where they are.
Spread world peace. Just love people.
* Note: The awesome a cartoon is by Marcus Connor that you can have printed on tees, mugs, greeting cards and more. Click over to see more and use the affiliate link, if you’re interested in a purchase.)