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With the recent tragic events in Charlottesville, I have been asked that as a Pastor if I will take a stance against racism. So, here goes.  I’m against racism.

Ok, let’s move on.  There’s a lot of confusion about what happened this past weekend (and to a degree in our society in general) and who the enemy is.  On the one hand, there are some saying that those (kkk, nazi’s, etc.) who were protesting the taking down of a statue of Robert E. Lee are clearly the enemy.  The message  of those groups are all over the place and certainly includes hateful, racist themes.

On the other hand, you have those (antifa, others) that were there to protest…the protesters.  Whereas in the “old days” people laughed at, mocked, and/or ignored such hate, now the reaction is violence.  Whether it be in blatantly obvious cases like Charlottesville, or in more presumptuous cases like when conservative speakers are scheduled on college campuses, they turn to violence and vandalism.

Perhaps the true enemy is Donald Trump.  You perceive him to be a racist and thus he encourages and emboldens all of the other racists to come out of the shadows and show their true color.  His blaming of both “sides” is further proof of his racism as he did not solely condemn the kkk and nazi’s.

Others yet point to the times when Barack Obama jumped to judgement in some situations (Cambridge Police) and yet urged people to not rush to judgement in others (Ft. Hood) seemingly inflaming race relations in America.  This resulted, they claim, in the push back we are now seeing in America today.

Typically, you’re in one camp or the other.  It’s right vs. left.  It’s progressive vs. conservative.  It’s hate vs. love.  It’s nationalists vs. open borders.  It’s us vs. them.  You cannot imagine how anyone thinks different than you.

Allow me to wonder if we are not all being sucked in to a long con.  Is it even possible that those leading the alt left AND those leading the alt right are in some level of cahoots using everyone as pawns in their bid for greater control?  The citizens fight amongst themselves while freedom and liberty are silently snatched from before their very eyes?  No one benefits but the mega corporations, political elites, and wealthiest of wealthy’s?  I’m not saying that this is the case…but could it be so?

I present to you one guaranteed fact.  I know the enemy.  The real enemy.  It’s all a long con job.  The longest in history.  No, I’m not talking about 3 card Monty, the lottery, or even social security.  No, I’m talking about THE enemy.  Some call him satan, others the devil, some call him nothing at all and don’t believe that he exists.  He is behind this.

Look at the results.  Arguments, distractions, hate, discrimination, violence, anger, the loss of relationships, fear, despair, and anxiety are just some of the byproducts of these times.  God is a God of order.  God is a God of love.  He is Peace.  He is Grace.  The enemy lies, steals, distorts, and cheats.  It breeds confusion.  It divides.  It hurts.  It kills.

So what can we do?  What’s the solution?  How do we make things better?  I don’t know that we can as a society.  I don’t really see us collectively growing toward love, peace, and acceptance.  The amount that tolerance is talked about vs. how much it is showed is 1,000 to 1.  I don’t see it getting better.  Therein lies the opportunity.

God has clearly taken the worst of things in life and turned them into the best of things.  It’s what He does.  It must really piss off the enemy.  I believe He is calling us to do the same thing now.  Where there is hate, show love.  Where there is sadness, provide comfort.  Where there is pain, provide healing.  Where there is hatred, exemplify grace.  Where there is despair, be hope.  Where there is ignorance, be light.

The darker things get, the uglier that life becomes, we have the opportunity to shine brighter.  If things are so bad, a little good goes a very long way.  These are tough, if not terrible times, but if we react in a Godly loving fashion, they are also the most opportune time to make an impact in people’s lives.

My fear is that you will read the top of this post and assign me to one side or the other.  I fear that you will not read the second half of this post as you are offended by something in the first half.  I hope that you will not read this and then forward 8 more political memes proving your side right and mocking the other side, you know…the enemy?  I beg you to not excoriate half of the population for not agreeing with you politically but rather reach out to them with grace, love, and forgiveness.

The darker it gets, the greater the opportunity you have to let His (or even just your) love shine.

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