Terrorism of the Heart


America. Kenya. Baghdad. Benghazi. Syria. Most recently Paris. This is only a small sampling of the 191 countries that have been affected by acts of terrorism. Hundreds of mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters have been killed. Why? Because they were at work. At a club enjoying a Friday night. Going to school. Nothing out of the ordinary, yet they were massacred because some extremist group wanted to prove their dominance.

And then come the politics.

Anti-gun this. Pro-gun that. Anti-refugees. Pro-immigration. Pro-war. Anti-war. Everyone seems to know the answer. Those minimally affected go to social media to hashtag they are praying or offer a lament for a culture they experienced or even mourn because their heart is breaking.

Unfortunately though, it seems that my heart breaks less and less. I can’t speak for the whole of America, but I can say that I have gone numb to the latest shooting due to the politics that come after it. Or the race issue that comes with it. I stopped watching the news because it was all one sided or focused on the details that didn’t matter. (Though that’s a difficult choice to make, as I don’t like being consciously ignorant of current events.)

When was the last time you read a news story with a headline reading, “Kid shot for going to school” or “Church parishioners shot in church” or “Hundreds die in a bombing”.  Does it matter what race the kid that died was or the church parishioners? Does it matter where this tragedy occurred? Does race all of a sudden change the fact that murder(s) were committed? Apparently it does.

Know that there is good and evil in this world. Evil will hurt, kill, and taunt us, regardless of the group they are a part of or the color of their skin. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that some sort of justice and punishment needs to be placed on the wrongdoers, but no matter the rules that are put in place, evil will still occur. Have you ever known evil to follow the rules? Yet there will also be good and hope that things will get better.  And Jesus is that living hope.

What frustrates me the most about all these acts of violence, is the fact that my heart does not break nearly as much as it should. Because of the over publication of every possible shooting, I don’t always mourn for the dead or pray for the shooter. I don’t ask, “How can I be an encouragement in my community?” My heart does not break as the Lord’s heart breaks, and that breaks my heart.

Don’t let evil terrorize your heart. Don’t hate Muslims, because Islamic extremists are committing heinous acts. Don’t hate black people because one black person shot a white guy. Don’t hate cops because some abused their power. There are far more kind Muslims, black, white, and purple people than there are bad. There are more first-responders that understand the magnitude and importance of their careers to their families and communities.

What does hate accomplish? Bitterness, anger, judgement, superiority. None of which will get humanity far or show the love of Christ if you claim to be a Christian.

Try loving your neighbor. Try listening to a friend or a coworker. Try inviting someone you want to know better to a group dinner or lunch. Try stepping out of your comfort zone to be different from society.

But until a majority of society can get on the same page, Jesus please come sooner rather than later, because I don’t know how much more of these untimely deaths this earth can take.

For some encouragement and hope, read Psalm 25.

karaBio Born in the wrong decade, this wannabe 1950s housewife loves Disneyland, reading, swing dancing, conversing with humans, traveling, and the beach. A combination of any of the above is a perfect day.

Kara Russek