AN EFFORT TO END HATE

Last week I wrote on an effort for peace. While I did not intend for it to be a series, here we are. In light of recent events in my hometown, Cincinnati, I feel like it’s something that is almost impossible for me not to talk about. We are in a day and age where chaos and hate enter the tabloids almost every morning. Mass shootings in America occur on almost a weekly basis. Everyone is angry and some aren’t sure how to control that anger. Essentially, we all need Jesus. I want to talk today about being peacekeepers and peacemakers.

For those of you who are unaware, Cincinnati had its deadliest mass shooting yesterday morning. I work across the street from the building it occurred in and happened to walk right past the spot of the shooting 45 minutes before it happened. We started to hear a bunch of sirens, but that’s not really anything new in the city, right? One of my coworkers peaked out of the window after hearing about 5 different police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks go by. She noticed that they were all parked outside of the 5/3 building but didn’t see a car accident or anything so we all assumed a pedestrian may have gotten hit.

After about 5 minutes of hearing more and more sirens and joking about how crazy all that was for probably something small, one of the ambulances pulled out a stretcher. I went to go and look up if there was anything on the local news, just as one of my coworkers ran down the hallways yelling, “there is an active shooter in Fifth Third, get away from the windows!” At that point, we had no idea where the shooter was and where he was shooting from. Our thoughts went to the recent Vegas shooting, where the man shot out of a building onto people much further away than we were.

I was not scared for myself, but panicked that hundreds of lives were in danger right across the street. I constantly refreshed the news, waiting to hear updates, waiting to hear if everyone was okay. Learning that the shooter had killed three people shattered me. I was just right across the street, working, not knowing so many lives were in danger. I heard a horror story of someone looking down at the street from the top of the 5/3 building, seeing the blood on the pavement. Shooting happen all the time, but this suddenly became personal.

I am sharing all of this with you to say: enough hate. Our world has been throbbing with anger long enough and it is time for us to lay down our weapons. Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called [children] of God.” Romans 14:19 says, “So we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” God didn’t just ask us to keep the peace but to also go out and make the peace. Hateful actions, intolerance, and sin will not end while we are on Earth. But God made it our job to stop what we can in our short time here. We are to make the peace.

We have to pray. Pray hard. Pray for the strength to stop hate when we see it, pray to keep peace once we do. God is already intervening and doing a work even in the evil, but it is our job to glorify Him as He does. God controls the universe, He breathed the stars to life. We are on Earth to share that message, to spread God’s love, and to make peace. Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Peace, peace, peace. Let us pray for peace and let us keep and make the peace with God’s help.

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