Citizens of Dallas, Texas experienced fear, violence and malice in a horrific attack on police officers during a public protest last week. While, as a nation, we may be perplexed and filled with a whirlwind of emotions, here are some ways we should not respond to this tragedy:
1. Express Hatred
What will threatening to harm those at fault do for this situation? It will only promote more violence. How will that response help us achieve peace? It won't. As soon as we begin threatening to harm, kill, or even "take matters into our own hands", all we'll be doing is throwing ourselves under the bus of hypocrisy. We cannot justify expressing hatred toward these criminals and murderers with a pure heart because a heart full of hate is just as evil.
2. Blame Weapons
Lay a loaded gun on the ground, and point it at a wooden fence. Stare at it. Go ahead and blink...nothing will happen. Now pick up that gun. Aim it at the wooden fence. Pull the trigger. Now the fence has a gash in it. What caused that bullet hole-—the gun? or the shooter who activated the weapon?
3. Seek Vengeance
We are not justified to get revenge against those who sin. We cannot and should not attempt to play the role of God. We are called to show love and forgiveness; all other matters will be taken under His own judgment. We will not solve any problems or make any progress in the struggle for peace in this world by accepting an "eye for an eye" mentality. This goes back to hypocrisy. We cannot expect to seek our own vengeance and come out with untainted hands in the end. As a society, we must trust our judicial system to handle conflicts. Those who were appointed to those positions will serve to maintain an order of civility. By this purpose, they will carry out God's plan according to His intentions. "His will be done."
It is extremely difficult to bite our tongues and turn our cheeks in heart-breaking, infuriating circumstances like the tragedy witnessed in Dallas a few days ago. However, as by standing citizens, that's the way we need to handle this situation. God provided men and women to protect us, even if that means protecting us from ourselves. Reacting to violence with violence will only make things worse, and fighting fire with fire will spark an even more vicious flame. We can unite as communities to mourn, support, and grieve for those who suffered losses. We can show love, forgive the criminals responsible, and accept our neighbors as brothers and sisters. With destruction comes revival, and I pray that we can learn to rise up and overcome the barriers, fears, and evil that surrounds us day in and day out.