We are just days from saying goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017. With new beginnings, we always have to think about what we want and need to leave behind to accomplish our goals. Here is a non-exhaustive list of trends, attitudes, habits and people I believe that we should leave in 2016.
The racial tension in our country is distressing and heart-numbing. I hesitated to speak to anyone about it for fear of my words sounding trite and appearing impotent. When I learned of the shootings of Keith Scott and Terence Crutcher, I offered a prayer to our Father. When my son called me asking me to help him make sense of the shootings, I offered a prayer to our good, good Father.
Given the recent spasms of violence in our world, I understand why people are cynical and find it difficult to have optimism. But, despite all that we see going on around us, I believe we can dream and hope for a better tomorrow.
Violence! Violence! Before I pronounced the benediction in our first worship gathering yesterday, it had happened again. Someone said to me: “It happened again. There has been another police shooting. This time in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Three officers were shot and killed and three more wounded.” My only response was, “Lord, please have mercy on us.” What do we do? How do we move forward?
After I had become a believer in Jesus, I wrestled with many questions. However, the one issue I dealt with more than any was: Can I lose my salvation? This question haunted me and dealt a severe and vicious blow to my spiritual confidence. Why did I think this way? Were my fears justified?
As I ambled into the house Tuesday night, I was met with: “Dad, it happened again.” Out of curiosity, I queried: “What happened again, son.” With a tinge of anger, shock and sadness, Marvin Jr. said: “Two white police officers shot another black man.” Inherent in his relaying this information was a cry for a village talk – wisdom in the midst of confusion and questions. What should and could I say to my 19-year-old black son?
As I heard about the disgusting and outrageous tragedy this morning, at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, my heart sank, and I began to weep – 50 dead and 53 injured. This mass shooting is the deadliest in United States history. The shooter has been identified as Omar Mir Seddique Mateen and officials have identified it as a terrorist attack. As I am sitting here with my family, listening and watching the reports come in, I am asking: How should Christians respond to this tragedy?
Besides snakes, rats (big Chicago rats), spiders, skunks, getting stranded in the ocean without a life raft, my plane crashing, something terrible happening to my wife and kids, and country bluegrass being heaven’s music for all eternity, (People, I am all messed up), I think I am most afraid of dying without accomplishing God’s purpose for my life. What is your greatest fear (s), and what do you do when it comes creeping into your life? When fear comes, you attack it with a proven strategy.