Last week, we passed the 1-year anniversary of the horrific day in Tucson, Arizona. On January 8, 2011, a lone shooter shot U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen other people. Six died, including 9-year-old Christiana-Taylor Green.
Recently I read the book As Good As She Imagined by Roaxanna Green and Jerry B. Jenkins. It’s a wonderful book that portrays the life of this 9-year-old, Christina-Taylor. My heart mourned for the victims and their families but especially for the Green family. No one wants to lose his or her child.
Green and Jenkins share stories from Christina-Taylor’s short life and I couldn’t help but fall in love with her and her family. It’s reminded me of the importance of community, love of family and how enduring challenges develops the perseverance needed to survive later trials.
It encouraged me to enjoy each moment with my loved ones. Not to sweat the small stuff and to avoid passivity. Christina-Taylor did a lot in her 9-years on earth and she left us with her mark and a smile.
The book does a great job not to glorify the shooter, however, part of me kept going back to him and wondering, “Why did he do it?”
Years ago, when we were preparing to go as missionaries overseas, Mark studied five common traits that start a movement. One of the greatest unifying factors was a common enemy. People normally at odds bond as they fight and, at times, are pushed to do things they normally wouldn’t do.
We don’t know why the shooter went on a killing rampage. Maybe it was politically motivated.
A voting year is upon us. Emotions are already flying and people are bonding over a common “enemy”. Adversaries are being named and their reputations are being destroyed.
However, when we view another as an enemy, hate is born. It brews and boils and moves us to action(s) and ones we often regret.
Jesus told us to love our enemies. It’s a pretty radical request and not always easy to do. We shouldn’t look at our neighbor as the enemy, even if we disagree or dislike what they say or do.
When we pray for our enemies, God’s power is at work in both them and us. We’re able to love and find real peace.
Before his crucifixion, Jesus prayed that we’d be united. Politics by nature divides us but at the same time it puts his children in each party. Perhaps this is God’s strategic way of shining his light on all sides.
As the debates and campaigns continue, think of Christina-Taylor. She was not at Giffords’ meeting to promote hate, rather to do good. We need to make sure we’re not working to defeat the enemy in the other party but to find the next man or woman God has chosen to lead our country.
Hate blurs our vision but love helps us to see clearly.
Do you have people in your life who are hard to love due to political affiliation?
How do you handle it?
Have you read Green and Jenkins’ book As Good As She Imagined?