Pat’s Wed DEVO
“Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
I have three names and four stories for you today. The first is Vincent Mueller. Vince was 9 years older than me. He was a rugged, reliable, and hard-working example of what men should be. I watched him as an adolescent in my early teens work on cars, paint homes, trim trees, and do things in the neighborhood for our older community members. I was 21 when we got the news that Vince had been murdered on his family ranch as he was taking a shower. The criminals robbed his home and stole his truck. They were caught in Dallas, TX. Over 700 miles away.
Caroline McCullough was the daughter of Jean and Betty. These were friends of my parents who played tennis at the country club. I would fill in as a fourth when they needed one for mixed doubles. These older couples were so much fun to play with because they were part of the greatest generation, and they loved and lived life to the fullest. I remember my mother hearing of the tragic events from the 6 O’clock news. How the McCullough’s daughter was jogging in Olmos Park, when a man abducted her and murdered her in the park in broad daylight. Her year-old child was left in a jogging stroller off to the side of the trail, safe and sound thankfully.
Brandon Smith was a boy who lived next door to my sister. My sis and her husband were newly wedded with two Pugs. Brandon and his two sisters would pug sit and play in their front yard. They were a fun, happy family. They were a Christian family who shared their faith and love for Christ with everyone. Brandon, however, got mixed up in drugs. I ran into his mother at the courthouse while working for my father as a legal assistant. I learned that he had died at the hands of a man he met online.
The final story is mine. I have lived in Birmingham, AL. I have seen racism from a southern point of view that left me empty and filled with sorrow. To think that ancestors in my family lineage could be so ignorant of the value and worth of precious human life was appalling. I have been in the military; I have seen war and felt toxic leadership. I have worked in a maximum-security prison. I have read the files and heard the confessions on inmates. I have bad dreams from the effects of what I have read, seen and I feel I know too much of how sinful and heinous this world can be. This knowledge makes me want to run and hide.
Which brings me to current events. I believe that racism, gang violence, overuse of authority from the police force to the military is an inexcusable abuse of power by people who do not know who Christ is or what he did on the cross. These riots, thefts, murders are sin at its core. And topped off with racism and hate across the lives of humanity makes it ever more tragic. It can only be defined as sin.
Sin is sin yet racism and hatred of people is a poison of the heart. So, this hatred like that which resided in Cane’s soul, there is no remedy it seems, that man has at least. The only hope we have is in the redemption of Christ our Lord and Savior. The only way to change the way we think is through the choice to cleave to one another and choose love over hate, peace over revenge, and forgiveness over judgement. The only way to begin this healing is through pure and unhindered humility of all people. We must call on the name of Jesus. We must claim the call of Christianity as our worldview and stand firm in our faith. We must embrace humility as Christ teaches.
The following notes are from an article Garrett shared with me. (Canvas Church, Kalispell, MT):
Here is why humility helps destroy racism.
1. Humility opens the door for me to acknowledge that I am capable of racism and might even express it in ways I do not even realize. I must choose to be a different person than the rest of the world.
2. Humility opens the door to for me to use the opportunities I have to be shared and extended to others. To give opportunities away should be seen as an honor.
3. Humility opens the door for me to listen before I talk, to learn before I teach, to follow before I lead, to give benefit before I give doubt.
4. Humility opens the door for me to realize the color of my skin doesn’t determine my worth, value, status, intelligence, or right. (this goes for all people of all nationalities) We are all human beings of value and worth to God.
5. Humility opens the door for me to be quick to seek forgiveness from others when they feel hurt even when I don’t realize why or how I was offensive. The very fact that someone was hurt requires I start with an apology. This should open lines of communication. A two-way line.
6. Humility opens the door for me to consider a new way of thinking instead of starting sentences with “Yeah, BUT…” defensiveness is not the cure that heals people.
7. Humility – To consider others better than myself. (No exceptions) READ Romans 12:9-21.
My heart is broken, my mind is numbed by the amount of disregard for human life that we see in looting, killing and senseless violence. All we can do is pray, teach our children, and witness Christ to the world around us. We must bear the marks of a true believer in Christ Jesus as our mirror image of Jesus to the world. This is our number one defense and stay. Please join me in prayer for our country, its victims of violence and the hatred that clouds our world.