Dear Readers, as the beloved Norwegians begin the process of burying those who were killed recently, I wanted to write something. But, this blog by my colleague in Texas left me thinking “I can’t say it any better.”
Every needless act of violence brings new questions. And after last week’s tragedies in Oslo and on the island of Utoya, again, answers are needed. Our hearts go out to Norway, to those individuals who lost their lives, and to those who treasure their loved ones they have lost.
I’m finding that spiritual solutions can help answer tough questions.
Yes, communities need to be protected. Individuals with emotional problems need to be helped and healed. And, I believe, it is our collective spiritual growth and maturity that will motivate the quickest and wisest courses of action.
In researching the life of the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, I learned that she prayed constantly to find spiritual solutions to world problems. Her prayers made a difference. For example, in 1881, Eddy visited the prison cell of the man who assassinated President Garfield. The assassin had no sense of his crime. He thought he was a victim and his act of killing the President was simple justice. However, her few words had an immediate impact on the man. Apparently, sensing for the first time that he had done something wrong, the man sank back in his chair, limp and pale; his flippancy was gone. The jailer thanked Eddy, and said. “Other visitors have brought to him flowers, but you have brought what will do him good.”
I have found that my prayers help me express more love and common sense. They keep me safe, as well. The spiritual sense I gain from prayer enables me to see that evil’s temptations are not others’ thoughts or my own, and they can be prayerfully and mentally resisted.
Years ago, while I was performing with a band, just after a performance, I walked out the backstage door of an auditorium, headed to a parking area, and found myself right in the middle of a race riot. I was immediately surrounded by a group of men, and their anger turned on me. Everything happened fast. But, what came to my thought was one powerful idea, “Love has no opposite sides.”
Love, I’d learned, is a name for the supreme being, God; so when the angel message, “Love has no opposite sides” came to my thought, my fear just drained away and I felt a deep spiritual peace. This sudden peace in the middle of a riot was surprising.
I was then poked in the back. When I turned around, a large man hit me in the face with his fist as hard as he could. But, it only felt as if I had been tapped with a balloon. My head didn’t move at all. The man who hit me looked me in the eye, looked at the others, and then walked away. Every one of them followed after him.
If I had tried to fight back, the situation would have turned out quite differently. However, my non-reaction was an act of love. I’d learned that I could trust God. And by trusting God and listening to the angel message, “Love has no opposite sides,” the anger and danger disappeared.
I pray that all those touched by Friday’s events in Norway find the lasting peace and grace of God. His touch is mightier and His tender presence more real than separation, sorrow, and fear could ever pretend to be. God, give them strength and comfort. Let them feel the Love that knows no opposing sides.
Follow Keith on Twitter:@TexasCS