Our world is on fire.
We can’t escape the images of hate on our screens. We can’t ignore the violence on our streets. We can’t pretend we’re not broken in profoundly deep ways.
The mirror in front of our faces reflects back to us our own spiritual and moral bankruptcy.
Our reflex – as it has always been – is to reach for the same familiar solutions that have failed us time and time again.
But, if we’re honest, we already know deep down inside that those solutions will fail us again. Why? Because they are simply incapable of changing the real problem: Us.
We are the problem. Our fears are the fuel of these flames we are now surrounded by. Our need for power is what drives our descent into this quagmire we’re in today. Our old solutions will not work. They’ve never worked before. They won’t work now.
Passing laws won’t change this. Gaining political advantage won’t accomplish anything but more of the same. There are no politicians out there with the answer. There are no candidates coming to save us. There are no policies to heal this deep wound of ours.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.
To experience something different, we’ll have to try something we’ve never tried before.
All of our efforts so far have been focused on turning off the darkness. But no one can do that. The darkness cannot be contained, managed or legislated.
The only way to remove the darkness is to turn on the light.
So, what if Jesus was right about what’s wrong with us? What if he knew that our love of money and power would lead us exactly here? What if he knew that hating our enemies would lead to more violence? What if he could see the way out of this neverending cycle of “us vs them”?
I believe he did.
We’ve been playing the “eye for an eye” game for centuries. It’s gotten us exactly here where we are today.
If we continue to fight fire with fire we’ll only create a larger fire that is even now threatening to consume us all.
So, what if we did something totally different? Rather than do the things we always do and have always done, what if tried something completely unexpected?
What if we loved our enemies? What if we blessed them? What if tried to overcome evil with good?
Isn’t this what love does? Doesn’t love cast out all fear?
Yes, I believe so.
Because the light was made to dispel the darkness.
Love was made to cast out fear.
Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Justice flows like a river that cannot be stopped.
I believe Jesus offers us an opportunity to walk a better path; one that leads away from violence; one that leads us towards healing, and reconciliation, and life.
What’s missing are people willing to walk this path.
We already know that what we’re doing now – and what we have always done – leads us exactly here.
If we don’t like where we are now, we’ll need to try walking a different path.
The Gospel of Christ transforms all of us – even our enemies – into new creatures with new hearts dedicated to justice, committed to peace, resolved to service, devoted to love.
This means we sincerely desire the redemption of those who kneel down on the necks of other human beings and take their lives away. We rejoice when they are set free from the blindness that made them forget the humanity of everyone, the brotherhood of all mankind. We weep with them when they recognize the horrific things they’ve done; when they realize they have murdered their own brothers and sisters; when they understand that the mercy they are offered is bestowed at the highest price; when we all understand that the salvation of the worst of us is necessary for the salvation of all of us, and the grace that we give is the grace that we need ourselves more than anything else.
Jesus has illuminated the path of peace for us. He’s shown us how to study war no more. He’s demonstrated how to love our enemies, bless those who curse us, pray for those who hate us, and overcome evil with good.
Now that we know the things that make for peace, will we turn around and walk in this path?
We can’t turn off the darkness. We should know this by now.
Our only hope is to turn on the light.
Our only hope is to love the fear away.
Our only hope is to try what we have never tried before.
This world will never change until we change.
Let the transformation begin.
Keith Giles and his wife, Wendy, work with Peace Catalyst International to help build relationships between Christians and Muslims in El Paso, TX. Keith was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church over a decade ago to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today he is the author of several best-selling books, including “Jesus Undefeated: Condemning the False Doctrine of Eternal Torment” which is available now on Amazon.