Saturday, July 16, 2016

5 Things Our Family is Doing In Response to the Dallas Police Shootings

Last week an event took place not very far from our home that had historic significance.  It will go down in the history books as the deadliest attack on law enforcement since 9/11.
It shook our home.
My husband is a police officer.
One cannot fathom the broad range of emotions you feel as you watch the live news coverage of such an event, and watch the death toll climb.
Just hours after I heard my husband tear off the velcro that holds the bullet-proof vest around him during his long 12-hour shift, and just hours before he was scheduled to be back on duty.
It was an attack on my husband's chosen profession.
And officers were hand-picked to die because they were born a specific color.
I've had some time to process this over the weekend just as we're watching the President visit our area and the long lines of cars are filling our highways as they make their way to the funerals of these fallen heroes.
We all want to do something.
I didn't simply want to perpetuate the hate and take sides.
I began praying.
Begging God for ways to share His truth with my family.
Because doesn't all this hate start in our homes.
Isn't that where people have learned it?
The easy responses.

But God made some things very clear to me over the last week!
Things that our family will be doing and things we won't be doing in response to this:

1.  We will absolutely NOT allow name-calling of any kind in our home.

   That includes demeaning conversations of people of other races.  Do not allow your children and family members to continue to divide everyone into groups based on colors or stereotypes.  Do not allow your children to separate themselves from those they perceive as less intelligent, or less valuable than themselves by calling a person a name.  Including, but limited to, their siblings.  Stop the hate and teach them it is wrong on all fronts.  Keep the hateful talk from entering your home through media.  Don't allow your children to watch videos that refer to people as certain colors. Don't allow television programs or movies into your home that use inflammatory, argumentative behaviors that only serve to inflame prejudice.

"The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious;
but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself."
Ecclesiastes 10:12

"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul,
and healing to the bones."
Proverbs 16:24

2. We will continue to engage people of cultures different from ours.

Our church has had Vacation Bible School all this week, and these boys came to my class.
They are from the Republic of the Congo.
They only speak Swahili, and I only English.
But God's love is a universal language!

What an amazing opportunity I have been given to work with these precious women
who have been in transitional housing because of homelessness.
The organization I work with is a shelter for homeless, pregnant women,
and their stories would both break your heart and amaze you!!
Nothing gives you a heart of compassion for people of different cultures than to sit down with them
and hear what they've endured and how difficult it often is for them
to reach their dreams and goals for a brighter future!!

3.  We are turning off the news.

 Do not keep the flood of sensationalism going. They are simply out to get the next story and create hysteria where there is none.  With the ability of the media to get to anything that is just beginning they create an atmosphere of fear-mongering over something that hasn't even happened yet.  What fear that creates in our children as well as adults.
 As we were watching the live coverage of the shootings Thursday night, I could feel the physical tension in my back.  I could sense the anxiety rising up through my spine.  By Friday, I had to turn it off.  There was nothing new they could possibly tell us. All the numbers were in.  They had discovered the name and story of the shooter.
The names of the fallen officers had been published.  It was simply a rehashing of all we had watched the night before.  Then the ugliness began.  The divisive dialog.
Shut it off.  Jesus Himself admonishes us to think on those things that are "honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report."  "If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things!"

4.  We are refusing to see this as simply a skin problem, but a growing sin problem.

   As the wife of a white police officer in a city that borders Dallas, where our home is 20 minutes or 14 miles from the unimaginable events of last night, I have a lot on my mind.
I'm sure I have nothing new to add to the dialog of the last week.
But I do feel that as a believer in Jesus Christ, a born-again child of God, that I must bring a little perspective.We cannot keep seeing things as simply a racist issue
It's a smoke screen being used by the Devil.
The problem is NOT racism.
The bottom-line problem here is sin.
Hatred is sin. Murder is sin. Prejudice is sin.
Officers shooting innocent people out of hate is sin.
Angry people shooting at officers is sin.
Mafia members killing each other is sin.
Serial killers chopping up and eating their victims is sin.
Extremists strapping bombs to their bodies and blowing up everyone around them is sin.
Separating ourselves into color groups to give ourselves permission to point fingers and think we're better than that group over there is sin.
No race or culture is free from it.
EVERY single ethnicity has its issues. Not one of them is better than the other.
We HAVE to stop seeing people as simply a skin color or cultural group. We must take off the glasses that gives color to our attitudes.
"Let him that hath no sin cast the first stone." ~ Jesus
The answer to the problem is Jesus.
We must look to Him and see everyone around us the way He sees beautiful, unique creations designed to bring glory to Him through His endless creativity and diversity. We are ALL created by Him and for Him. He loves us and we are to love each other as He loves us......unconditionally.
Yes, evil must be stopped.
But evil doesn't stop evil.
The answer for this troubled world is Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!!

5. We are choosing to see ALL people as God sees them.

     Not as a color, but as a beautiful creation of His who He loves in spite of choices and bent to sin.  As a sacred life.  All lives were created for a purpose and it is not up to us to decide when that life should end.  We are going to go pay our respects at the memorials set up at the Dallas Police Department and we are going to pray for all the families that lost loved ones last week.  We are teaching our children they are never to assume something about a person based simply on their skin color, but on the character of their heart.  We want them to have the mind of Jesus:

"For the Lord does not see as man sees;
for man looks on the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart."
I Samuel 16:7

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list.
Be creative in ways you show support to your local police officers and their families.
Take some goodies to your local police station and pray with the officers there.
Give an officer a hug and tell him you appreciate his sacrifice for your safety.
Tie a blue ribbon on a tree at an officer's home.
Pray for the families in your area that lose a family member in a bad police shoot.
Send them flowers or a card if you can to express your condolences.
Every life matters to the God who created them, and for that reason, we should too!

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