Thank you for those that have been loyal readers of this site over the last year. I had planned on writing a tech article – until this past Friday.
The massacre in Newtown has stricken the world with grief. As a father myself, it is particularly gut-wrenching. A discussion on Facebook prompted a friend of mine to write me an email with her reflections. With her permission, I am sharing an edited copy of her reflections with you.
Sarah Powell is an American Expat living in Ottawa, Canada. She is a teacher and a proud mother of two handsome boys.
As an American, I feel like I ought to weigh in on the tragedy in Newtown. I also speak as a mom, teacher and a Christian.
I think in the case of these tragedies, it’s easy to jump right to legislation on gun laws. However, for us to point only to gun laws is a little bit oversimplified. In no way am I pro-guns, but I think there’s a lot more to it than that. True, tighter gun laws aim to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people, but often these people ultimately find a way to get their hands on them. It’s not a perfect system.
What it doesn’t do is keep the darkness from our hearts. We ALL need to wake up. I think it’s more an issue of our nation turning away from God. There’s so much darkness in our society that we’ve lost sight of Him. We’ve lost sight of the sanctity of life; that’s evident in so many ways. Without truly being a nation “under God”, there is no moral compass. As a Christian, I know the world will never be perfect and that evil will not be eliminated until Christ’s, but I also know that we CANNOT survive without Him.
For a long time, it has been on my heart that I need to speak up, but I never feel like I have words to adequately say what I’m trying to get across. Laying in bed this morning after waking up with my son Ryan, I couldn’t go back to sleep. I knew that I need to try harder – not only for the sake of my precious boys, but because I’m a Christian.
Where do I think we fail? We don’t speak up often enough. We’re complacent about watered-down doctrine in our churches. We usually think that the missions field is only overseas, and not in our own communities. We won’t step on any toes to point out moral deficiencies in our society. True, there are people who do speak up, but I’m usually not one of them. I don’t know many people who are.
I’m always waiting for someone else to say it. “Maybe my life will be enough of an example,” I think to myself. Actions do speak louder than words. But words are still important. There has to be truth in what we say, but also in how we act. It can’t be so knee-jerk that we drive people away, but God’s message isn’t only about love. It is the purest message of love, but it’s also a call for repentance. Enough of us aren’t necessarily living out that message either, though. Do we look different enough from the world?
Sometimes I look at myself and I can’t see enough that truly sets me apart. I look at churches I’ve been at and people I have known, and not enough of us are living different lives. We’re mostly trying to fit in. So if we’re relying mainly on the notion that “actions speak louder than words,” I think that’s not going to do us much good for instigating change, but that we let God change us. We need to get on our knees and ask Him to instill in us more of Himself. We’ve got to find that balance between being loving to attract others to Jesus, but we can’t water down the walk that He asks us to live. If I truly mean what I say (and I do), I need to be on my knees every day every day. No more looking back.
When something tragic happens, we are beset with grief and anger, and rightly so. We should be grieving. We should be angry. We should hug our children tighter. But then we go back to life as usual, until another tragedy strikes. I am tired of that way of living. As a Christian, I ought to see the tragedy of the everyday, too. We are losing our nation to complacency and death. It doesn’t seem to be true any longer that we are a Christian nation. What does that even mean? I’d venture a guess that many people around us don’t know.
It’s time to speak up.