LAYERS OF CLAY
The Only Way I Know How to Respond to Genocide
This is not a funny post about happy things. Sorry.
The pages of history books are filled with human suffering. Even now, we continue to write new pages in blood, and the reports coming out of Iraq sound as barbaric and terrifying as two thousand year old accounts I’ve long felt distanced from.
Women enslaved and raped.
A family of eight shot in the face for refusing to denounce their faith.
Tens of thousands of innocent people fleeing into mountains without water or hope as a mob of murderers advances towards them.
I’m not describing Rome’s destruction of Carthage, Herod’s massacre of the innocents, or any other genocide before our lifetimes. These horrible things are happening right now, currently in Iraq, as ISIS (the Islamic State) massacres anyone they deem devil-worshipers.
I am not given to public shows of emotion or superficial displays of mourning, but these accounts stir up a sickness and anxiety within me. I feel helpless. Perhaps you can relate. So what’s the point?
My point is not to be politically divisive. We need to call all our leaders to account and ensure they are doing everything possible to curb suffering around the world, and we need to do so without an eye on polls or upcoming elections.
My point is not to scribble some justification for either war or pacifism. Personally, I agree with how President Obama described the U.S. air strikes in Iraq in this particular case. The Iraqi government is asking for our help. Thousands of men, women, and children will lose their lives if the insurgents are not stopped.
My point is not to make us all feel terrible about how good we have it while others suffer for their faith. I thank God for the freedom to choose what I want to believe in and live a life in safety.
My point is not to make everyone hate Muslims. Please don’t apply this barbarism to every person of a particular group or region. I know Muslims who weep at such atrocities and are confused by what is happening.
And my point is not to only focus on Christians. The violence in Iraq by ISIS targets more than just Christ followers, and multiple accounts suggest that even acknowledging conversion to Islam will not save victims from the blades at their necks.
So again, what is my point?
My hope is that we take a few minutes to remember the lessons of history and do our duty in the face of evil. Namely, we need to:
- Acknowledge the terror facing many people around the world.
- Honor the memory of murdered victims.
- Amplify the voice of survivors.
We all will approach those three things in unique ways. The only way I know how to respond to genocide and mass-scale evil when such stories emerge is to use my words.
Often all I have are words–those I write on the web, speak through microphones or in person, and, most of all, those I send to God.
So I’m using my words to speak the little I know about things I cannot fathom. It’s a call for awareness, a flicker of light because enough sparks fan great fires, and light chases away darkness.
To be honest, I’m trying to rip my heart open a little more because something dangerous happens when I take in the darkness of this world in sips.
When I only glance at blog posts, news articles, and Facebook posts, I take in just enough toxic negativity one drink at a time to slowly blacken my heart over time. The bitter taste slowly fills me with anger and despair.
I don’t want my hope to die by poison in the dark. Rather, I want the light of the world to pour out of me.
We need each other to flourish. Most of all, we need the mercy of God so much. As those poor people flee without water into the dark mountains, let’s pray they find living water and light.
We may be far removed from some of the world’s suffering, but regardless of our nationality or religious beliefs, we can decide right now to make our corner of the world shine a bit brighter starting right now.