I woke up at 1:30 this morning, unable to go back to sleep. After laying in the dark for a while, my racing mind prompted me to scroll through social media where I learned the news of the situation in downtown Dallas where 11 people were shot by snipers, taking the lives of 5 Dallas police officers.

Again?

More shootings?

AGAIN!!!???

So many of my friends on Facebook expressed their condolences, their anger, their fear, their thoughts, their prayers, #prayfordallas, #lovemore, #blacklivesmatter, #alllivesmatter

I don’t doubt the sincerity of these lamentations, but I do doubt the effectiveness of the words expressed. We all witness the influx of posts every time another tragedy occurs on this planet. We find the popular image, assign it a hashtag and sit behind our phones and computers, putting our thoughts out into the world. We discuss it with our spouses while getting dressed in the mornings or over dinner with friends. We point the finger and believe we know who is to blame–why is it never the person who pulled the trigger? A few days or weeks of peace as we know it occurs, and then on to the next tragedy. On to the next hashtag.

Something in these conversations is missing. Something in our reactions is missing.

My scrolling lead me to the newest image of our beloved Dallas skyline, now branded with #prayfordallas, and then to a simple but profound comment from a Facebook friend I have known since I was 12 but don’t really have a friendship now beyond Facebook: I wonder what would happen if everyone logged off and dropped to their knees for a while.

Message received, sweet Lord.

My prayers took me out of bed to my boys’ rooms where I laid down near them for a while and prayed. Jumbled prayers. Disorganized prayers. Prayers asking God to tell me what to pray.

Make me a better mother. Help me to raise these boys to be honorable men, appreciative, respectful and loving to the ENTIRE human race. Keep them safe. Please Jesus keep them safe. Keep them safe. Keep us safe. Keep them safe…

Be with all the mothers who lost their sons in these horrible shootings. Be with the mothers of the shooters. Be with us all. Forgive us. Stay close. Teach us…

And then two concepts entered my mind, no doubt the answer to my confused prayers: sin and Jesus Christ.

The very definition of humanity shows we are unable to be void of sin. Humans are human. Imperfect. Sinful..and when I say sin, it is not in the scary “you’re so bad” tone that is so often associated with church and Christianity. Sin is anything that comes between ourselves and God. If you are unsure as to what constitutes as sin, start with the 10 Commandments.

I don’t view sin as something designed to make us feel ashamed and low and evil, although it certainly has those effects on me at times. I view sin as the choices we make which aren’t in line with God’s teaching in the Bible. As humans we are unable to live without making these choices regardless how strong we are in our faith. Everyone sins. Christians, Muslims, Hindu, Buddhists, blacks, whites, gays, transgender, heterosexuals. Can I say it again? Everyone sins. Everyone makes choices that are not in alignment with God. And every person needs to repent at times. Not only does repentance lift the burden from our hearts and give us a clean slate so to speak, but it allows us to draw closer to the Lord. The chasm between us and Him is filled with sin no more, and there is space for us to come together with Him and be engulfed in His love and peace.

Jesus Christ is something many in our country are either skeptical of or uncomfortable speaking about. I was introduced to Jesus Christ at birth, and have never doubted who and what He is, although there have been definite times in my life when I didn’t cultivate much of a relationship with Him. Yes I agree with the noisemakers and signs and banners and protesters and equality seekers that we need to love more, show love, love everybody, love wins etc…yes, of course we need love. But 1 John 4:19 says

We love because He first loved us.

The only reason we have love on this planet is because of Jesus. Yes, we need love, but really we just need Jesus. Only Jesus, the creator of love, can teach us his definition. Only Jesus can show us what that means. Only Jesus.

Can I say it again?

WE JUST NEED JESUS!

He is real. He is real. He is real. He is real. He is real.

I promise you. He is real.

When our world is in such turmoil, when the human race is at war, when there is confusion and miscommunication and fear and murder and injustice and anger and hate and sin everywhere…the human race needs to draw as close to Jesus as possible. If that hard, black shell of sin is surrounding our hearts and jumbling our decisions, however, the attempts or even desire to draw near God is a futile one. The presence of sin won’t allow it.

Lets repent today–not to make us feel bad and shameful and sinful or disgusting, but to keep from feeling those things; lets repent so we can draw closer to the Lord; so we can experience the perfect, true definition of love that only God can provide.

If you have never asked the Lord for forgiveness when you mess up, try it. Sometimes it takes a little courage, a little humility, you might even be scared. But the ability it gives you to draw closer to the Alpha and Omega, the Prince of Peace, the creator of this entire universe is well worth the few moments of discomfort.

If you have never spoken one word to Jesus Christ before, try it. Sometimes it takes a little courage, a little humility, you might even be a little scared. But His ability as the Alpha and Omega, the Prince of Peace, the creator of this entire universe to come down and spread his love and peace and faith and hope and healing is THE ONLY ANSWER to what this country and world needs.

We all need to talk to Jesus Christ today. We are all imperfect and need to ask for forgiveness. He forgives! No matter what you’ve done.

Jesus is the only answer. We can #lovemore until we’re blue in the face, but without Jesus Christ the status quo will continue.

And we really need Jesus to be the status quo. We really need Jesus Christ. No hashtag necessary.

-ciao for now-

Lauren

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