Dear Lord and God above,
My heart is groaning for the world even at it groans now in sin. More and more we are becoming a world divided. I pray that we can remember that which you taught us. At this time, as violence comes upon our shores, with those gunned down in California, I pray that each of us can somehow learn to take your words seriously.
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
I have heard these words and marveled. Far more often I have simply forgotten. I have felt thy love for me, a sinner, even to the consuming of my flesh. Help me to remember that love extends to each and every one of thy children. May I not let myself be found using the distancing and dehumanizing terms for my enemy we have in the past. The Krauts and Japs of World War II, the “gooks” of Viet Nam, the “Hajis” of Iraq, the terrorist of today. These things that would diminish the humanity and common bond I share with my enemy. I don’t know if I can do it. I don’t know if I can replace the word “terrorist” with child of God. Even when I try, I fear the wrath and anger such an attitude would bring upon me from those who are mourning with me. Help me to remember that such love does nothing to lessen the tragedy and loss of life. Help me to mourn for this even as I mourn the twisting of the human soul that leads to such acts and recognize even the suffering of these perpetrators and others like them.
Help me to remember the response of the Amish almost a decade ago when a man shot 10 girls at a school, killing 5. “We must not think evil of this man,” they cried. Help us all to look within ourselves. What injustices do we turn a blind eye to, benefit from, or participate in that feed the anger and carnal desire for retribution in those who would wear the label of terrorist in the future? Help us find the courage to take an uncomfortable look at the privilege we gain from the oppression of others. Help us somehow find the way forward even if it is at personal cost.
Please help those of my faith, of all faiths, to see the folly of giving up on the world and abandoning civilization to hasten armeggedon, as ISIS has. Help those of us who would love and honor you remember the power of letting our light so shine before men. Rather than condemn the evil of others may we root it out of ourselves and shine as an examples before others as surely as the Amish did.
Please help us, as massive groups of refugees flee these very madmen, to find the courage to avoid the temptation to fearfully close our borders, afraid these outsiders will bring the very evil they are fleeing from. May we as Mormon people and Americans heed the cry of our leaders. May we avoid the mistakes of our past that led us to close same borders to Jewish refugees fleeing a madman in Germany in the 1930s.
May we remember the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. as the temptation for retribution hits us.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
As I write,
as I plead,
as I fast and pray for these things,
may it reach someone
Wrenching and lovely. Personal vulnerability and emotional intimacy are the way forward.