The past few days my heart has been heavy.
I woke up Friday morning, and I remember thinking that it was an exceptionally beautiful day. My heart felt light and joy-filled as I went about my morning routine.
You see, I typically don’t go on my phone or computer in the morning until I have spent time with God, and have had coffee and breakfast. I try to do this so that I can focus, keep a clear head, and not start my day filled with the steady input of others’ lives, social media drama, or stressing about emails and texts.
So when I finally picked up my phone it was to document the absolutely stunning morning via my insta-story. After that I threw my phone down again to get ready for work. It wasn’t until I was done getting ready that I finally had some time to go on Facebook, and that’s when I heard the news.
I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it. I sat at my table starting out the window, dumbfounded. To be honest, I’ve remained dumbfounded for the past few days. Not knowing what to say, I have said nothing at all. I’m sure you are aware of the event I am speaking of; the terror attacks at the mosque in New Zealand.
This is not something I want to be writing about, this is not something I even know how to address, it is something I would rather just skip over because it hurts to write about it. However, it is not something that I can ignore.
My heart is filled with pain, sadness, outrage, and questions; as I am sure all of your hearts are as well.
How could someone ever hate a group of people enough to intentionally go into their place of worship to kill them? How could something this horrible happen in a time that I am alive? How could the hatred in one’s heart go this far? How could someone do this?
Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have witnessed something so horrific in recent years. Hatred and ignorance have seemingly taken reign in our societies; the result we see is murder, shootings, massacres, terrorism, hate crimes, oppression, ect.
Horrific event after horrific event occurs, and I fear that we are, or will soon, become numb to it all. I fear that if we do not speak about the hard things we will become all too good at ignoring both the pain and the problem. I am terrified that if we do not all stop and check ourselves, our friends, and our families; that we will never see it slow or stop.
We absolutely must be having the tough and uncomfortable conversations.
We must sit down and open-mindedly and lovingly discuss issues of fear, intolerance, and ignorance towards minority groups. I cannot sit here and listen to people tell me that things like racism and sexism do not exist. I will not stand to hear people claim that minority groups are exaggerating and/or complaining for no reason. AND I will absolutely lose my mind if I see another person post another stupid-jokey-meme about how white-privilege doesn’t exist (spoiler alert: white privilege does not mean that if you are white that your life has not been hard and full of pain. No one who recognizes white privilege thinks that. I have also linked an article about white privilege here, feel free to read ).
There is no place left for hurtful humour or denial, even if it is based on ignorance. Because guess what!? We live in a world where you can go to the library, bookstore, or even Amazon to get some books and try educate yourself. You can reach out to people to ask and learn from them. Ignorance is not a valid reason, it’s a privileged excuse to remove yourself out of the conversation
While we are speaking about ignorance, here’s my thoughts on racist, sexist, or homophobic jokes: if you are saying it even though you claim you aren’t racist, sexists, or homophobic; it’s time to re-evaluate. What comes out of your mouth is a reflection of your heart. And joking or not, if your words are hurtful to a group people who have been historically oppressed because of their race, sex, gender, ect., maybe take minute to realize how harmful your words are to the process of undoing patterns of oppressive power.
When we say, allow, or encourage hateful narrative we are unknowingly, or perhaps knowingly, fostering environments of division, hostility, and oppression. This is problematic, and in a world where it seems like people don’t need much of a reason to murder, this is not only problematic, but downright horrifying.
IF SOMETHING MAKES YOU UNCOMFORTABLE, ASK WHY!! If it makes you uncomfortable then that might be a sign you should dig into that subject and learn more about it.
Ignorance and fear often lead to hatred. Hatred may start small in our hearts, but hatred left unchecked grows.
You guys, I do not write this to cause anger or divisiveness, but rather, the opposite. I write this to challenge us all to do better. I write this to encourage us to be uncomfortable, to struggle with the ideologies that have shaped our ways of thinking, to deconstruct the automatic thought patterns we have, and to think critically.
Mostly though, I challenge you to look at someone who is different than you and to view them as they are; as human. At the end of the day, I would assume that you have more similarities with any given person than you have differences. And if you disagree, then you don’t know that person enough. Lastly, I challenge you to simply love other people regardless of if they think, look, or act differently than you.
At the end of the day we are all God’s children. We are all made in the image of God. We were all made carefully and lovingly by God. So regardless of if someone believes differently than you, they are still a child of God, whom He loves, and whom you should also love.