A Shift in Perspective

I was scrolling through Facebook status updates, when I came across one fairly tactful, yet confrontationally written update.  This “friend” was expressing his frustration at the media’s uproar over the tragedy in Connecticut last Friday.  He emphasized that tragedies like this happen all over the world.  He also said that all people are precious because all people are created in the image of God.  He was specifically frustrated with the pride we American’s often have in thinking that because we’re American we are more special than all the other people in the world.  He closed by expressing how sick he was over Americans suddenly being broken only when an American tragedy happens. 

I totally get what he was saying.  And I totally agree.  But I want to take his thoughts one step further. 
Rather than focusing on how prideful we often are as Americans, I want to instead affirm that it is right for us to be broken over this tragedy.  It is right for anyone who hears of this tragedy to be saddened by it.  It is especially right for any follower of Jesus to be broken over this tragedy.  Why, “especially followers of Jesus”?  Because we know that this was not the way the world was designed to function.  We know that this world is in pain, broken and falling apart because of sin.  The entrance of sin (with Adam and Eve) and all sin afterward is a going against God’s design.  And going against God’s design results in fallout.  The fallout from sin is truly heartbreaking.
So, it is right for us to be broken over this tragedy that happened in Connecticut.
But might I suggest that we are meant to go further than that?  Might I suggest that rather than simply being broken over national tragedies, we find ourselves broken over international tragedies?  You see it  isn’t that you shouldn’t be broken over American tragedies…you should; rather, it is that you should be broken over all tragedies. 
Our hearts should break when we hear of any injustice…anywhere.  Our hearts should be soft enough to feel compassion and empathy for the struggles, pain, trials, and heartache others feel…no matter whom they are or where they live.
You see, if you are a follower of Jesus, your “citizenship” is not in America but in the Kingdom of God.  This ultimate citizenship is with believers from all time and from every nation.  It is this ultimate citizenship that ought to propel us to care for all humanity everywhere.
Then, knowing that God is the ultimate Healer, our hearts should be moved to long for God to heal and restore.  The tragedies we learn of, whether national or international, should move us to plead with God to set all things right.  So it is right to feel heartbreak over recent events, but might I ask you to evaluate your heart’s sensitivity to compassion towards all people, everywhere?  Might I ask you to pray for a heart that is broken by the things that break God’s heart?  And in doing so, might I ask you to listen to Him for how to step into those heartbreaking realities...both near and far?
Let me emphasize that you do not have to feel every tragedy of all time and from every place.  You could not bear it.  You are not God.  The point isn’t to feel all tragedy ever.  The point is to broaden your worldview and be moved to compassion and action toward any tragedy or injustice God points out to you.  The point is to listen to God, feel for those He points out to you, mourning with them, and ultimately praying for and taking action toward transformation, healing, and restoration in those places He reveals to you…both near and far. 

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