In Monterey Park, one of the USA’s first predominantly Asian cities, 11 people in their 60s and 70s were shot during a Lunar New Year celebration. According to the Gun Violence Archive this was the 33rd mass shooting of 2023 in the States. 72 year old Huu Can Tran took his own life shortly after opening fire on a community of dancers who were known to him.
This week the funeral for Tyre Nichols was held. The 29 year old Black man died after being severely beaten by five Memphis police officers, also Black, following a traffic stop. In trying to make sense of motives behind such violent crimes between people of the same ethnicity, social scientists point to prevailing white supremacy and colonialism. Why stop at Eurocentrism? Continue to retrace the path of human history and we find national supremacy, wealth supremacy, gender supremacy all stem from the origin of sin and the temptation to think we can be self-made and self-saved.
Jesus warned that as the final chapter of human history comes to a close, the love of most will grow cold. In fact, the timeline of His return will be expedited by surging evil and violence to ensure there are still people alive to celebrate His second coming (Matthew 24:12-22). As Christians, followers of the Way of Jesus, our role is to be ambassadors of God’s love. Romans 12 teaches us to live with compassion and overcome evil by exercising kindness. That means we can’t ignore our current reality.
Compassion does not turn away from sorrow and suffering. Compassion will engage in lament as our hearts strings are stretched to their breaking point. Compassion clings desperately to hope. When you are up against forces of darkness and feel yourself growing numb to the atrocities and agony in the world, lean into the comforting grace and strength of Jesus. 2 Corinthians 1:4 informs us we overcome compassion fatigue by dwelling in God’s restorative, nurturing presence. Hear again Jesus speaking: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! [be hopeful] “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).