Annihilation: to destroy utterly; obliterate.
It’s not a word that I use often, especially not in regards to human life. But there doesn’t seem to be a word more fitting for this time. Our men, our women, our brothers, our sisters, daughters, and sons are being annihilated at an alarming rate. Seemingly there is nothing we do about it. We sit uncomfortably in the midst of trauma as MURDERS take place on our social media feeds. Grief presses down on our shoulders until we are flat on our faces unable to move. Fear greets us as we leave our front doors. Relief and anger find us as we come back. What are we supposed to do? As believers? As humans? As victims? Do we turn the other cheek? Do we pretend like it’s not happening because it’s not affecting us? How about crying, how much can we cry? Sometimes it seems like we can’t do anything, but stare at news reports shocked and not surprised at the same time. It’s time for a change. We can’t sit back and continue going on as normal.
If you go through the Bible you can find a verse and example for any way to respond. Turn the other cheek, an eye for an eye, a time to kill. But at the heart of the Bible is Jesus. And He is the answer to how we should respond.
Jesus the Activist
If you believe in the fluffy cute Jesus who is super gentle, delicate, and sensitive, you are right. But you are also completely missing the radical, fierce, challenger He is as well. His very position as the savior makes him an advocate and activist. He didn’t sit back silent while humanity suffered. He strategically interjected himself in a system to transform life as it was known. He gave up His life, his comforts, his home, in order to transform a culture. Jesus showed compassion, challenged the status quo, and changed the world.
Compassion: sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
One thing that is true during this time, our hearts should be grieved. No matter what color your skin, or your beliefs, the consistent systematic annihilation of human beings should cause more outrage than when Mike Vick was hosting dog fights. Somehow we become more and more desensitized to death. Mass murders, drug wars, video games, gang wars, and media coverage has made the killing of innocent black men and women all too common. We’ve come to a point where it hurts to hurt. But our concern for others should override our own need for self-preservation. Compassion allows us to see things from other points of view, and seeing should spur us into action.
Challenge the Status Quo
The Messiah flipped the world upside down. Every wrong thought that had become the norm was overturned through his probing and actions. Sometimes it can be scary to think about going against the grain. It can be draining to think of ways we can actually make a change. But we all have to do our part, on our scale, where we are. For some of us that means challenging the perceptions of those on our social media feeds, for others it can mean board meetings and encounters with politicians that spur new legislation, and for some it could be raising children that we teach to think outside of the box they’ve been given. But the point is we have to do something. We have to be strategic as Jesus, law-abiding while following the rules of the Kingdom that supersede the laws of this earth. It’s time for us to get comfortable ruffling feathers. We have to reshape the way the world thinks. We must wake people out of the media-induced coma they’ve been placed in. Challenging what exists makes room for us to create the change that’s supposed to come.
Change the World
If only it was as easy to do as it is to sing the Eric Clapton and Babyface song. But transforming culture takes time, effort, strength, fortitude, and dedication. We are required to do something outside of ourselves. That’s what Jesus did on the cross. He did something outside himself that started within himself. Change starts with you. Initiating a change in the world first occurs in your heart, which is why compassion is a necessary force. The secret is recognizing that we don’t have to start off thinking about global activism. You don’t have to become Gandhi, or Mother Teresa tomorrow. Instead, think of something you can do on your level. How can you promote peace and love for all people? How can implore others to understand the value of life? How can you diminish fear from the hearts of others? How can you make it popular to protect the black family, the black legacy? It’s time to put those things in action.
We’re not suggesting that in our determination for radical change that we pursue the destruction of other people. It’s not our objective to repay annihilation with more death. Instead we want to promote a life where everyone can enjoy the basic human right to live.