Which way will you run?
The rumble of explosions ripple through the air.
Screams and cries ping through the confusion.
Our first urge is to run from the chaos.
But then the camera refocuses on a group of Marines running toward the destruction. The voice over says, “There are a few who move toward the sound of chaos.”
Then I read “Running Toward the Pain” by Matthew Loftus and this great line, “Broken cities need those minor leaders who cultivate, in their own corners, a community’s moral formation.”
Running toward the pain. First responders to chaos.
Seek good, and not evil . . . Hate evil, and love good (Amos 5.14-15)
But the question is “HOW does one ‘hate the evil’ and ‘love the good’ in this culture?” (5.15).
First responders to chaos, running toward the pain means:
If we see evil and turn away, we have only become part of the evil.
Building relationships with others opens the door to discuss pain.
Strengthening small group, grass-roots institutions is where the battle against chaos begins.
We do not allow anyone’s pain to be “censored,” left out of public view.
When we silence others through “shaming” their ideas, perspectives, or approaches we help continue the pain.
Persuading others to respond to others’ pain demands the voice of the powerful, the privileged, and the well positioned.
Teach by doing, by being there means we have earned the right to be heard by participating in the pain.
We do not vilify those who stand for another’s pain, even if we disagree with the cause, because pain and chaos are everywhere.
We are committing to a way of helping. Give it your all. Stick to it. Don’t blame others who don’t care for our focus as we do. They have their own focus.
We can only know-be-do so much. The horrors of our world go viral. We cry out to God knowing we cannot attend to every horror. But we push back the pain in our chosen chaos.
We combat the evil Amos excoriated by protecting those whose lives are in danger. We love the good by attending to the needs of others in pain. We are defending those who cannot defend themselves. We are calling out the bullies of this world by speaking out against their brutality. We are finding ways to push back chaos by shining a light in the darkness. We are running toward the violence when the alarms are sounded.
And maybe that’s the big idea, the answer to the question “HOW do we hate evil and love the good?” We show up.
Or maybe the Marine Corps asks the best question: will you run toward the chaos?
Dr. Mark Eckel will be teaching on suffering this fall at Crossroads Community Church.