Rodney King famously exclaimed in the 1990s, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Recently, after witnessing the horrific shootings of the past week a woman asked me the same question. Perhaps you have been thinking the same thing the last couple of months. Seems simple right?
However, what we really mean when we ask that question is, “Why can’t everyone be like me? I can get along with everyone!” Most of us can not imagine having blood on our hands, therefore we assume we would never go beyond a mumbled slander toward our adversary. And surely everyone likes us! But does that mean we can get along with everyone? While watching people do the unthinkable on T.V. the vast majority of Americans believe they would make the right choices in every situation. Yet I promise that if you follow any given person throughout her life you would hear and see words and deeds that betray her ability and even predisposition to not only ‘not get along’ but even kill. I assure you that even the thoughts of your white haired grandma would scare you if you knew them!
While the rest of the world stunningly stares at the T.V. as they watch a man gunning down another man, Christians should remain unalarmed. Oh, we weep for sure. However we know why bad people do bad things because we know why good people do bad things – SIN.
The heart of the racist, the pervert, the rioter and the murderer brazenly beats in all our chests. We are all capable of the worst deeds. We all have that gene. The question should not be “why can’t everyone just get along” but “Why do people get along… ever?”
Therefore, while the Christian reply to villainy is certainly a call for justice, it also demands self reflection and repentance. Then, as we look at victim and villain with the eyes of Jesus who died for both, we pray for both. Yet most importantly, as our neighbors are paralyzed with fear, we have been given words of hope and peace; the words of our enemy’s savior, Jesus Christ. We not only know why people don’t get along, but we know that humanity is not simply stuck in some anatomical destiny of extinction. There is deliverance for free for all in Jesus Christ!
Jesus came not only to save us from sin, death and Satan but also from ourselves. We are the problem after all not simply “those” people.
Jesus has reconciled us to God! We who were once His enemies. He didn’t do this by providing a path to peace, but literally pronounces us forgiven! it is finished. The power of knowing and trusting that overflows to reconciliation with those around us. By God’s Spirit we are enabled to turn the other cheek, to look upon our enemy with compassion and forgive them.
Dear Christians, your neighbors need you because of what you know and who you know. You are called to be the calm voice in the midst of the storm. Christians are not shocked by what man can do and ,though it continues to amaze us, we know what God can do and has done and will do! For He is the one who turned the other cheek and transformed our violent blows into wounds that still flow with forgiveness and life! So instead of running around like Chicken Little crying, “The sky is falling,” hug your neighbor and tell them,”Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” Hang on brothers and sisters. We will all get along in the resurrection.