We can't settle for "normal" now

It's surreal. 


The atrocities going on across the sea. 


In Israel and Palestine and Gaza.  In Iraq.  Especially in Iraq.


I read online reports.  See the news.  And I am horrified.


Then I go grocery shopping.  Take my child to piano lessons.  Look after my Mom.  Life is normal.  I give little thought to the horrors.


But the anguish returns.  I wonder if it is all true.  Perhaps some lies are being disseminated.  Then I read reports from credible sources that reveal more evil. Normal is shattered.


HOW CAN THIS TAKE PLACE?


Children being beheaded.  Women kidnapped and forced into slave trade.  Crucifixions.  Victims being buried alive.


Surely this cannot be!  We live in a civilized world....or so I thought.  The shocking barbarity that I learned about when studying the Middle Ages - AND THE HOLOCAUST - are not just in the history books.  Humans are capable of unspeakable evil.  Here and now.  We cannot pretend or deny or ignore. 


The most heartbreaking issue of all is that this inhumane cruelty is in the name of religion. 
I cannot process it.   I simply cannot.


So I go back to my mundane normality.  My blessed, precious, wonderful, mundane normality.


But I cannot stay there.  I have to do something.  We all do.  We must not return to our "normal" and ignore this horrible truth.


We know the quote from Edmund Burke --  "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."


What can we do?


1.  Pray.  I know that sounds trite.  But it's true.  Only God can change the human heart - and that's where the problem lies.  For all of us.  I don't even know what to pray but God can take care of that, too.  Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  Romans 8:26-27
So, I ask myself, am I really praying?  Really??


2.  Give.  Yes, God is the only answer but He often involves us in the process by giving food, water, relief.  Some organizations I suggest are Voice of the Martyrs, Open Door, International Mission Board SBC.  These groups are getting stuff done quickly.  They have missional "ground troops" that are close to the crisis and know how to respond effectively.  GIVE.  But give to groups that can really help.  Many news sources report that the majority of the humanitarian relief provided by some outlets was unusable once it was dropped on the mountain.  Give.  We have so much -- too much, really - we can help significantly if we all just give.


3.  Spread the word.  Tell others.  Keep the focus on what's happening.  Perhaps the terrible slaughter of the Holocaust wouldn't have happened if people that knew what was going on had spread the word.  Make sure the attention of governments and all the world is riveted on these horrifying events.  Social media.  Conversations at the water cooler.  In the pulpit.  Talk about it.


4.  Contact Congress and the White House and let your horror be known.  Insist that our government not allow evil to triumph by doing too little or even nothing. Humanitarian aid is insufficient.  We need to rescue these people.  Be their voice and be sure you get heard.


5.  Do not return to normal.  Pray without ceasing.  Give sacrificially.  Keep talking about it.  Be relentless in insisting that effective action be taken.


When I read about the horrors of the Nazis or visit the Holocaust museum, I cannot grasp how this took place....while the majority of the world went about its business being normal.




What will history say about our response?




One final thought.  As much as we want to believe that these evil people are uncommon, they are not.  As much as we long to believe that humans are basically good, and given the right education and upbringing and governmental programs , all people will behave with civility and compassion, that's just not true.  Humans are inherently bent towards evil.  Apart from the intervening grace of God, every one of us is capable of committing unspeakable acts of evil.  And as much as my heart cries not only for rescue of the victims but also irreversible retribution for the perpetrators, I must acknowledge that they need a Savior --- just like I do.  And so I must pray for them.  I must.  I cannot slide back into normal.  They should be stopped and brought to justice but I must not hate them.


Hate is what spawned this evil to begin with.