Becoming People of Peace Starts with You (and Me)

Since the events in Newtown, CT, last year, I have been praying for an end to gun violence. This post is a little bit about that, but mostly not. (Just in case you're sick to death of the topic. I promise also to spare you the infographics, statistics, etc.)

Yesterday, I read a story about the first American killed this year by a gun. He was about to graduate college when he died--and so the promise of his future years are now lost to us.

I found it via Facebook and read a handful of comments that were hate-filled and fear-filled -- from both sides.

From both sides.

The article and the comments made me realize that the insane rate of gun-related deaths would not be fixed by legislation alone (although I believe still necessary) or by fixing the mental health system, but the problem stemmed from the inability of seeing anyone other than oneself as a human being.

Oneself? I remembered a conversation from last night.

My husband shared that some people thought that the part of Satan in the Bible mini-series on The History Channel had been cast to look like our President.  (I kid you not.)

I rolled my eyes, both at the old oppressive stereotypes still being used and because "People are stupid."

Oneself? I needed to change my heart too. I have become caught up in the polarization that is endemic in the U.S.

And I thought I accorded dignity to every human being.

"Why aren't you mincing the garlic? It's easier," asks my husband while I chop vegetables for dinner.
Munich gargoyle

"Because the recipe calls for chopped, that's why," I snapped.

Oneself? I need to change my heart too.

I apologize later, explaining that dinner was running late and I hadn't wanted to get caught up in that expectation but had anyway.

You and I, we need to stop seeing people as the Other, and start seeing people as Beloved.

It's a process where we will fall down and get back up again over and over, letting a little more love into our hearts each time. 

It's only through trying, and prayer, and mindfulness and, most of all, by the grace of God that we will become a people of peace. To do that, we need to see others as God sees them. The God who loves each and every one of us. It's a challenge, but it's one we've been asked to take on since Jesus walked the earth.

O God of peace, who has taught us that in returning and rest we will be saved, in quietness and confidence will be our strength: By the might of your Spirit lift us, we pray, to your presence, where we may be still and know that you are God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer)

How do you see people as other? How could you change that view?

Linking up with Jennifer's #TellHisStory


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