Friday, July 8, 2016

Processing the Dallas Sniper Tragedy

     I had the difficult job this morning of explaining to our boys what happened in Dallas last night. Unfortunately I feel like we've had to discuss way too many of these tragedies.  One is too many. But this is our city. And my brother in law is a Dallas police officer.  I began by assuring them their Uncle was okay, but the fear and panic in their eyes-I never want to see again.

     I had texted my sister about an hour before the shootings started asking if he was home. I was nervous about the protesters. But he was still at work. Sometime between the time we spoke and the time the shootings occurred, he had come home. We had just sent the boys to bed, when I got on Facebook and a friend had posted "Active shooter. Two officers down." My heart dropped. I told Joshua to turn on the news, and I called my sister. She didn't answer, so I informed my mom of what I knew while I waited for her call back. She called back pretty quickly. I always try to remain calm and steady because if something is wrong, she needs me to be strong. But this time, as soon as I heard her voice I started crying asking if he was okay. She told me he had not been home long and had just been called back in. Relief does not even begin to describe how I felt when she spoke those words.

     Ironically enough, we had been at their house yesterday morning before he left for work. I watched him kiss the babies goodbye. He hugged the boys and I. I'm not sure why, but yesterday I told him I pray for him everyday. Especially now. And then I told him to be safe.

    I slept very little last night as I watched the news and prayed, listening for my sister to call, but hoping she wouldn't. Finally about 4am I crawled into bed and slept until about 7:30am when the boys crawled into my bed asking for breakfast. Before we got up, through tears, I explained what had happened and assured them their Uncle was at work, but safe. Then they wanted to call their Aunt and make sure she was okay.

     Today I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to help them process this. They're scared. I'm scared. I know we'll start with God's Word. It's the place we always try to start from as we process life and it's consequences. I'm praying and pondering how we'll exactly handle these topics and their order, but over the next several days in our family worship time we're going to discuss these things.

1. All human life is precious because all people, no matter of their skin color, are created in the image of God. People are so special He breathed His very breath into man at creation.

"So created human beings in his own image. In the image of God, he created them; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27

"Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man's nostrils, and the man became a living person." Genesis 2:7

There is no mention of color in these verses, just people.

2. God has placed authority in our life for our protection. Even unbelievers who are in authority should be respected because God has allowed them that position. Even when we don't agree with authority we should treat them with respect and follow their orders as long as they are not asking us to sin against God.

"Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority." Romans 13: 1-5, 7

3. Every single person on this earth needs Jesus. We are lost in our sin and separated from God. Our sin and brokenness is at the root of these tragedies. But the Good News is Jesus saves us from our sin and heals our brokenness if we repent and believe in Him.

"For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." Roman 3:23

"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Romans 5:8

"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23

"If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9

4. We cannot find lasting peace outside of Jesus. Because of His peace, we do not have to scared. He is in control.

"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. " John 16:33

"I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:27

5. Our response should always be love. We cannot not just say we love all people, our actions must show we love all people. Love covers sin.

"Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law." Romans 13:8-10

"Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions." I John 5:18

"Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins." I Peter 4:8

6. This broken world is not our home. One day, Jesus will return to take home to heaven.

"But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior." Philippians 3:20

     I'm praying God gives us wisdom and discernment as we discuss these truths and Scriptures with our boys.

     God is in control. I trust He is already working to bring good out of this tragedy. He will use this tragedy to bring people to salvation, and bring glory to Himself. Jesus is good. All the time. Even when it is hard to see.

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