By Betsy Bailey
I had this huge plan of keeping a blog and writing more once I left my medical device job. I thought that would help a lot with the healing and processing of the personal challenges of the previous year. I needed a time out to let my heart catch up with the rest of me. The decision to stay at home was not an easy one for someone like me who loves to go all the time. Staying home with a toddler and an infant has not really meant I have lots of down time. Ha-ha. I am lucky to be able to change my underwear on a daily basis, and so, my blog has maybe three entries.
The Charleston, South Carolina, shootings have really stirred some stuff in me and I sat down this morning with my coffee and Chris Tomlin and my journal. There is so much evil in this scenario. This time it wasn’t just about race—it was about religion. But it wasn’t just about religion—it was about race. It was even about an addiction to drugs. I don’t have all the specifics right now (as I write this, news is still breaking) and I honestly haven’t been able to watch anything for more than 15 minutes for the last two years. If it isn’t on Instagram or Facebook or in Jesus Calling, the Bible, or the book my small group has selected—I’m not reading it. Sad, I know.
Anyway, what I do know is that the guy was obviously full of hatred for those a certain color and maybe even for Christians. He even had nonsense patches ironed on his clothes. What I also know is that he had to have exhibited hate before Monday. You don’t just decide to walk in a church and shoot other human beings. I saw that he had a mom. He had a dad. He had some friends. I’m not going to play a blame game—we are adults and no one makes us do something—but I can’t help think that either this hatred was taught or this hatred was tolerated throughout at some point in his life.
I won’t claim to have my PhD, and like I mentioned before, I don’t read a lot of books—but I stand firm that how we love others and even what we eat is taught by those around us. Bottom line. Your child won’t ask for cookies or brownies unless she knows about them. She knows about them only if you give them to her and you are a dessert family. Kids don’t just hate someone of another race unless they are around those who talk bad about them. Kids aren’t just mean kids unless they see their parents be mean.
I actually had an experience with a girl a few months ago who was awful at a dinner. Very, very mean—so mean that I got up and left. She has a daughter my daughter’s age, and I immediately thought, “If she is this rude and mean to a 35-year-old lady, her daughter is going to be a nightmare.” I am sure Mari Wilton will encounter mean girls regardless of how much I want to protect her, but it did give me pause to think.
My small group recently read Follow Me (ding-ding-ding—a book I actually read) and it talked a lot about what the world would look like if we truly followed Christ. Not just followed him, but we set out to make people fishers of men. It was and still is a convicting book because I have so many things and people in my life currently that drive me bananas and I have zero patience with them. I can’t help think of the shooter in Charleston and wonder, “What if someone had loved this boy like Jesus would?” What if someone at an early age sang to him “Jesus Loves Me,” or “Jesus Loves the Little Children?” What if someone had seen the picture of him with all that racist nonsense and made it a mission to witness to him? Who knows? Maybe he would have still been full of hate. I don’t know.
But I do know that we will see more and more of this if we don’t get a grip and truly start living by example and loving like Jesus and teaching our kids what is right and good in the home. If you are a parent, do not tolerate hate. Do not tolerate bullying. Do not tolerate any kind of racism.
Get off your warm church pew, too, and start searching for the lost to love. Imagine what the world would look like.