Certain words represent opposite ends of a continuum. Let me suggest these two: division and empathy. Now let me mention an event: the shooting and killing of a young black man by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri. Anybody paying attention to the news last week knows the tragic incident has been divisive.
Money has poured in for the family of Michael Brown. But even more money has been raised for officer Darren Wilson. Some people feel passionately that the unarmed 18-year-old unjustly died and they are outraged. Others feel just as strongly that it is possible a police officer was just doing a difficult job. Some people feel this is part of a serious pattern. Others think it was just one incident. Ordinarily, what color your skin is and what neighborhood you grew up in greatly influence how you see it, and that’s because those things have resulted in dramatically different life experiences.
Wherever we naturally and instinctively come down in this divide is one thing. What we choose to do in spite of our natural reaction is the far more important thing for a disciple of Jesus. We can react with our gut and venture on to social media and most likely create even more division. Or we can hurt for those who lost a loved one, pray for them, and then employ empathy as we communicate with others. Instead of blasting away because of what we feel, we can seek to understand others who feel something very different. That’s the essence of peacemaking. That's essential for healing.
Christians, let’s remember who we follow, and let's be different. Let's choose empathy, Let's seek first to understand.
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)