As much as we try to live healthily and optimistically, at times it is so difficult. Sometimes we struggle with personal times of sorrow. Sometimes such as now it’s impossible to ignore troubling headlines as we read of the murders in Atlanta particularly, although clearly not exclusive on this subject of headlines too painful to compartmentalize. When these times happen we pull out all our usual cope mechanisms, strong faith in God, of course, the primary source of our strength. Yet just as Yeshua brings the connection to us intimately, so too, we sometimes need to process further to make the divine solace tangible.
No matter what the motivation for this terrible loss of eight lives, the murderer was not thinking of the other. In taking another’s life either from one’s own place of inner chaos or as an outright expression of hatred, the perpetrator is prioritizing his needs over the well being of another. I could only imagine what a different world this would be if everyone, everyone, followed the teachings of Yeshua to love your neighbor as yourself, to treat others as you would want to be treated. If a shooter stopped a moment before pulling the trigger and thought about these teachings, none of these atrocities would ever occur. Can you imagine . . . ?
There are times in our lives when we are troubled and we do put our needs above those of others. Sometimes we pour our hearts out to friends or family. Although I typically love to be the listener, I’ve recently felt the need to process the loss of my daughter with my loved ones. And it helps. When we do that, and I recommend it, this support by others helps us to heal. At those moments, if I apply the recommendation of putting yourself in your brother or sister’s shoes, I’ve actually not made their day any easier, for now they share my burden. Yet by doing so, they are sharing our Abba’s love, putting flesh on His Divine Presence by loving me through it, being a comfort, helped me to heal. Conversely, there are times when I am the listening ear and support to my loved ones. When we do this for each other we not only help the current situation, but we also, person by person, are working to make this world more loving. We have through love of another put them first and experienced the circle of love – from Him, to us, back to Him.
When we practice loving each other in this way, we are training ourselves to love our neighbors as ourselves, to treat them as we would want to be treated. Loving interactions are training grounds, not just as a way to tangibly learn how to prioritize the needs of others, but also, to help each other get through hard times. Thankfully, often when we are struggling, a loved one may be in a place of strength, and vice versa at other times. As loving relationships, and community support bolster us as individuals, and we support others as well, individuals become healthier, communities thrive, societies heal.
Perhaps consciously working harder to be there for each other could help to mitigate the amount of pain being horrendously thrust on others. Shooters were once innocent children too. What happened? Mistreatment? Failure? Brainwashing? Lack of love growing up? Lack of faith? What a difference if they had thought of Yeshua’s teachings before pulling that trigger. . .
Processing pain is important. Recognizing our common humanity is the truth. I never take for granted the amazing blessing that I found faith in Yeshua who put intimate reality to my faith in Abba “up there”. It was just up to me to open my eyes to this subtle, yet life altering distinction, which when lived daily guides our actions toward others with nothing but love beyond human understanding, compassion, and hope that someday all will know Him.