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My Heart is Weak

My heart is weak. Yesterday a man overcome by evil killed scores with a truck in Nice, France. I’ve grown tired of being surprised, shocked, or acting as though the attack was unexpected. This is a sad reality of our world today. That a 24-hour news cycle hunts for tragedies affecting a group of people to grab daily attention, and that they have no trouble finding them.

bastille-day-eiffel-towerAs I stood watching the fireworks cascade off the Eiffel Tower last night for Bastille Day I was struck in a new way that I really live here. That the millions of people in Paris are closer to me now than the family I grew up with. I felt pride for the French, and love that I am here with them. I left the park with over a hundred thousand others making our way to the metro to head home. Once home we saw what happened in Nice and waited for more news to trickle in before heading to bed.

My heart is weak.

Out of events like this, frustration and anger arise. It’s a natural response to evil in the world. I have to remind myself that I have a choice. I can be driven by anger, or I can choose hope and love. Anger allows a foothold of evil in my own soul while the other lightens the world. I believe that following Jesus requires us to pursue hope and love. That to follow Jesus means to do our best to follow the example he gave us.

As a child Jesus snuck away from his parents to teach in the Temple of Jerusalem. The same temple where he was dragged in the middle of the night before being condemned to die. His whole life he lived amongst those people. Jesus spoke of the two greatest commandments (love God and love your Neighbors) and these men who carried him off and condemned him were his neighbors. As he hung there suffocating he chose hope and love. With some of his final breaths he showed us the way forward. He taught us that evil could not live in our hearts with God. Abandoned by friends, destroyed by peers, and alienated by his neighbors he said “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

La Déposition

My heart is weak.

It cannot hold both evil and love. Choosing to love is already so difficult for me that to allow evil a foothold pushes love beyond my grasp. Maybe you’re someone who is capable of more than me. That you can hold evil and love in some cosmic balance. Yet every time I’ve delayed in choosing hope & love it becomes harder. Hatred and evil had already snuck in and were making their home in my heart.

Maybe your heart is strong than mine, but I will choose to love in the ways that are hard. To love those who persecute me. Those who’ve let evil take a hold of their life, and who may will to kill me. Their choice is not mine, I will choose love. Even if it means walking to a death at the hands of those who I live among as my friends are lost – scattered in the wind.

My heart is weak.

Even as my heart is broken by grief and my world crumbles around me I can still choose to fall into love. There isn’t enough space for both hatred and love. So I choose love when faced with evil, as best I can. To love those who desire it, and those whose hatred may one day end my life. My heart may be weak, but I long for it to be pure and full of love.

Photo Credit: Yann Caradec 14 July, 2013
Art Credit:
 La Déposition by Jacopo Bassano