It’s Monday morning and the UK awakes to a new work week. It’s just over two days ago that news began to seep through about the horrible attacks in Paris and the deaths caused. The immediate response was sorrow and compassion for those caught up in the terror attack. A good response, a response that echoes the love we have for our fellow humans. Then fear raised it’s head. Fear that this could happen again in the UK, fear that the London 7/7 attacks would be repeated. If “perfect love drives out fear”, then it is also true that perfect fear does appear to drive out love. Social media has become the heart that we wear on our sleeves over the last few years, and if what we have seen on social media the last two days is our heart then we need a transplant. Whilst many have been showing their alliance with France by adding the French national flag to their profile picture in some fashion, others have been crying, ‘close the borders’ or ‘bomb the @£$%.’ These are just a couple of the irrational, poorly conceived and fearful responses we have seen, from what at other times I am sure are perfectly compassionate reasonable humans.
So for the last forty eight hours my heart has been sinking every time I read from someone I know these or some other similar response to the attacks. My own personal initial response was to pray for those who we caught up in the attack, and keep my head down and my thoughts away from any form of social media. Then I awoke this morning and understood that saying nothing is not an option. My leader and saviour Jesus spoke out about injustices in this world, he is my model. So let me be clear these attacks are intolerable, unacceptable and evil. We should do what we can to bring anyone connected to them to account. However where does all the hate being propagated on social media at the moment take us? In living rooms around the country as young ears hear the hate filled responses, what are we creating for our future? As some of our fellow humans are are spat at on our streets, what dark corners are we driving them to? I am not suggesting that the answer is easy, actually the answer provided by the Teacher is radical.
43 ‘You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven… (Matthew 5:43-45a NIVUK)
So for me I will be praying for enemies of love, who perpetuate this hate, as they seek to plot and attack. I’ll be praying for my neighbours in my country who spread hate via social media misrepresenting and apportioning blame. I will also be praying for the victims of such attacks in France and across the world. Please come join me in my prayers.