Stories surface daily of Baptists and other believers risking personal safety and giving sacrificially to help the people of Ukraine.
At the same time, storms, wildfires and other weather-related situations continue damaging various parts of our country almost weekly now.
Right behind the destructive forces emerge the light shining from Disaster Relief volunteers.
News reports also seem to always include mention of a mass shooting that happened somewhere overnight or a list of needless murders taking place within families and across neighborhoods.
And standing with the survivors and those left to pick up the pieces are committed followers of Christ, providing needed consolation, support and strength.
It’s not surprising to hear we are running toward those who are hurting — it’s instinctive to do everything we can in crisis moments.
We don’t worry about political party alliances or denominational preferences when a horrifying event devastates a community.
We merely see someone hurting and reach out to help.
The beauty of the moment can easily be missed because of the chaos swirling around the devastation, and once life settles back down the giving spirit also can quickly grow cold again.
‘Being the hands and feet of Jesus’
But Easter provides the perfect weekend to focus on what our daily lives might look like if we intentionally sought to serve others sacrificially, even outside of the crisis moments.
What does it really mean when we chat in our church circles about “being the hands and feet of Jesus”?
Do we keep a uniform — the Jesus shawl — hanging in our closet, only to pull out when we go on a missions trip or when a tragedy occurs?
How do we reconcile the simple concept in 1 John 4:19 — “We love because He first loved us” — with the way we think about and treat others who think or act differently than we do?
Are we able to see others through the eyes of Jesus?
And are we willing to love them like Jesus loves them even when they have done wrong or are making bad choices?
Pain, disappointment, frustration and fear are part of all our lives, but that doesn’t mean we need to take it out on others.
Why purposefully turn others into enemies and work to destroy them rather than build each other up?
And why would we not look for every opportunity possible to show those who don’t know Jesus a glimpse of the love and grace He has for them?
How will I answer?
Sometimes I imagine how I will explain myself to Jesus when I make it Home. Will I be able to point to all the times I kept my eyes on Him, trusted even when the pain didn’t seem fair and obeyed despite not being able to see the full picture?
Will others have examples of when I genuinely reflected the light of our Savior, or will they quickly turn away, leaving me to the stark reality of the selfish motives of my heart?
Our hearts can only take so much mean-spirited attacks on each other; we can and must do better.
Do you ever long for a day where the officials making decisions for how best to promote political candidates agree to focus their strategy only on their own candidate? And decline to spend so much energy attempting to destroy those running against him or her for the office?
Of course, the advertisements and speeches would showcase only the positives for each particular candidate.
But that’s OK because informed reporters and researchers could calmly vet what is being shared.
All we would need to do is take the time to read up on the research that either confirms or contradicts various stats, records and agendas.
I’m guessing many of the candidates would be relieved also. After all, how much negative and mean-spirited attacking can one heart really handle without turning cynical?
And if the only strategy available for success is the last person standing following a season of ugly attacks — and many times based on deceitful, exaggerated information pulled out of context — would you really want to gain the position that way?
For some reason, the strategists believe we only pay attention to attack-based politics. Maybe we did for a while, but I believe we’ve outgrown those childish ways. Let’s demand better.