Orlando.

UCLA.

San Bernardino.

Charleston.

Paris.

Newtown.

And dozens more.

City after city, campus after campus, venue after venue–violence is at an all-time high. It’s unsettling. It’s scary. It’s horrifying. And it’s become our new normal.

I hate saying that. I hate to think that the United States of America has become a country where our security’s significantly breeched. One where we’ve grown afraid–afraid to travel, shop, go to school, or just plain enjoy the freedoms those before us–and those today–fought/fight for. What’s happened to us?  Because we’re tired, arent we? So tired of this new normal. We’re angry over the fear it breeds. We’re frustrated, hurt, and outraged by such senseless crimes and the families left to grieve in the wake of said tragedies.  We can’t fathom the very idea of how a person (or persons) could walk into a room, business, school, or venue with the sole intention of eradicating life.

Know what else? We’re no longer shocked, huh? Crimes like the one that took place in Orlando on Saturday evening don’t surprise us anymore. In fact, it’s what we’ve grown accustomed to.

And it’s terrifying.

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So we take to Facebook, asking for prayer–begging for God’s grace, comfort, and peace–over the cities, people, and families affected by it all.  We talk of guns, mental illness, and radical Islamic terror. We play the blame game. You know–if only gun laws were stricter. If only someone saw the “signs” sooner. If only these acts could have been prevented. If only…

As accusations fly in order to justify these crimes by pinpointing some sort of motive, I have to tell you–this is a heart issue. It is our hearts (collectively speaking) that are sick. It is our souls that are restless and stirred. We are no longer one country, unified under God…and we’re suffering because of it. Today, we love less and hate more. We disobey. We rebel. We idolize/worship everything (and everyone) besides our Creator. And we wonder what’s wrong…we wonder how we got here…”

So, how does it stop?

How do we end this violence? How do we return to a time where violent crimes were few and far between and terrorism wasn’t a part of our daily lives?

I wish I had an answer. I wish I could obliterate such evil with the snap of my fingers. But I can’t. Instead, here’s what I can do (and you too):

Love more. We’re all just people. Flawed people trying to figure life out. People who hurt, have wounds, but do the best we can. Each and everyone of us needs to love one another more and let those divisions that divide us, decrease. Let’s surround those affected with our love, our prayers, and our encouragement. Let’s be the hands and feet of Jesus to everyone we meet–everywhere.

Call it like it is. What happened on Saturday was terrorism. Plain and simple. Isis hates our freedoms, our way of life, and our very existence. America–be on guard, be alert, and be aware. We can’t stick our heads in the sand and pretend that what’s happening, isn’t happening. We can’t live in denial anymore.

Rise up. We’re only victims if we allow ourselves to be. Take back your country, America. Let’s not live in fear anymore but realize that preparation and knowledge are key in defending ourselves and our freedoms.

 

 

 

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