I saw Nolan’s post on Facebook and was thankful and moved for its tone and appeal to faith-filled civility and redemptive dialogue in times of utter divisiveness in our country. I met Nolan in our church, where he served with joyful humility. One word that comes to mind for him is simply “kind.” I asked his permission to repost his entry here as a guest blog:
I usually find the best thing to do is to remain silent, but I can remain silent no longer.
These past days and weeks have been trying for all of us. Our collective response, particularly on social media, terrifies me more than any event of these times.
Over here, I see people suggesting that the indiscriminate raiding of property and endangerment of innocent lives as a means to an end is okay. On the flip side, others suggest that murder is excusable if the victim has a shoplifting history.
Somehow people believe that it’s okay to build a foundation on disregarding laws, disrespecting peers, and abusing women – as long as you’re the “red tie” figurehead of an improving economy. Others suggest that this man is evil, but that his challenger’s own accusations should magically be ignored because he wears a blue tie.
Many believe that a disease that causes death and devastation is fake, or at the least, not applicable to them, because it causes them inconvenience, exposes their weaknesses, and shows the extent of their powerlessness. They show no remorse for those who have lost their own lives or those of loved ones – because to them, self-control outweighs the sanctity of life.
Others exaggerate and fear-monger this crisis because they stand to gain personal power, benefits, or security. They show no remorse for those who are hungry, homeless, unemployed, or mentally ill – because to them, control over others outweighs the sanctity of life.
You are welcome to any of these positions, with whatever reasoning you choose. You are welcome to suggest that revenge, chaos, and suppression upon those we disagree with are the way forward. But I can assure you of this: all of these things have been tried and refined throughout human history. They have led and still lead only to oppression, slavery, discrimination, abuse, trauma, poverty, death, and every abominable result we know about. To try them again and expect a better result would be insanity.
On the contrary, I live on a conviction that the creation of humanity, the redemption of humanity, and the final restoration of humanity have/will come from the purest demonstration of love (from God to humanity). The conclusion, therefore, is that any motive or desire contrary to that to love our neighbor is completely worthless.
Love is difficult, especially to put into practice. Love leaves no place to tell those with viewpoints we find abhorrent to “unfriend us” or “go away”. [In fact, this behavior only gives our enemies more fire to use against us.] Love calls us to befriend those people, and through perseverance and compassion, influence them to a regard for human life and livelihood.
Love leaves no place for the apathy to ignore an issue because it does not affect us (a shortcoming I am very guilty of). Love calls us to actively seek out different perspectives, to ask how we can advocate for and support those who are afflicted, and then to follow through on what we know to do. Love also demands that to truly care for others, we must not condone/ignore their actions that compromise the life and livelihood of others; we must be clear in words and in example about what is right and true.
I hope that you all will come to the same conclusion – that a policy of unconditional love is the only solution to the brokenness of today’s world. I hope that you will ask yourselves how you can best help those who are afflicted – especially by COVID-19 and related restrictions, by minority vs police injustice, and by increased political abuse. I hope that you will also share with me ways that I can support those who are afflicted. Let’s start a new conversation and a new movement here.