Dare to Love… Even when it hurts

An American city is under siege, violence reigns, people can’t return to their homes, kids and teens have no place to go. 15 structure fires, 144 car fires, 200 arrests, 19 officers injured, 1 young man dead. Powerful images flood the news, and from Facebook feeds to hastagged tweets – people are expressing their outrage. #BaltimoreRiots #BlackLivesMatter #PoliceLivesMatter

Thousands of miles away, one of the most brutal terrorist groups arms themselves with banners of anti-Christian cruelty, beheadings, sex trading, and ferocious hostility.

You may not think the two news events are related, but they are. They are fueled by a world culture that needs healing. We both cast blame and look for solutions in our Government, and that’s not where we’ll find it. We’ve forgotten the message that we need most. It’s not a message of death, but of Life. The army we need is not armed with tanks, soldiers, or riot gear – but armed with the truth and love of Jesus.

No Government, no nation can fix the problems and issues of judgment because of skin color or the senseless killing of innocent people. We are simply distracted by the horrible events of the day, of the week, of the year. But, the root of the problem is the hurt and brokenness in our human hearts.

There is a Love that is both overdue and overwhelming that needs to re-take the human spirit. This kind of Love can heal hearts and bind every wound. This kind of Love can make us BRAVE under any circumstance. This kind of Love took our place thousands of years ago on a cross, and made us all brothers and sisters – all the same race, all the same heart. And until we turn to THAT Love, we’ll stay broken. Until we as the Church leads the way, stands for mercy, for forgiveness and we do more than say it – but, we take it out into the world and we show that kind of Love…. Until that happens, we’ll remain shattered. Lasting change can only be affected by the Love of Jesus.

It doesn’t matter where we’ve come from or what we’ve done – Jesus came for every person. There is forgiveness and love – even in the midst of the riot – even in the Middle East – even at the edge of a beach in Libya – even in the center of hatred and hurt. We can dare to love…. Not just when it’s easy.

When we love boldly without condition. When we dare to love even ISIS – with their bloodstained hands and murderous hearts. When we love in spite of the violence in Baltimore… in spite of the pain caused by others. When we dare to love even when it hurts – that’s how we live Brave.