This obviously isn’t a picture of Kabul. I shot this photo after a run one evening. I just loved how the sun was still peeking over the horizon while I headed back to my home, my safe place after working out my body and my mind.
Exercise is just good therapy, y'all.
I suppose I could have found images online regarding all that is happening in Afghanistan. But I imagine that a lot of you, if you are like me, are up to date on what is happening and the images are now seared forever in your brain. So I opted for a different view today.
My heart hurts. I wrote just the other day about how I was reading a book titled Love Anyway and how the author challenged us to love the people despite what you may face. He literally saw the horrors of Isis, Taliban and war up front. He lost friends to the Taliban. To Isis. Horror upon Horrors. I have received questions regarding my judgment or why I would read a book written by someone who, as far as I can see, did not vote the same way I did in this last year's election. Who perhaps leans a little further to the left than I do on issues......specifically when it comes to Muslims and the conflict in the Middle East.
I wanted his perspective. I wanted to get an idea of what he saw with his own eyes and then form my own opinion. I am discerning. I realize not everyone is as discerning as I am.
I wanted to hear his story, and then move forward with how I could take on his challenge of loving anyway, even when evil exists.
Exist it does. We can't pretend that it doesn't. Evil is not neutral. And we can't either. I am angry. I am angry for the people who live there, who claimed Kabul as their home. I keep hearing from news reports and from those who served over in the Middle East that the people there are beautiful, are kind, warm, fill up local cafes as a way to connect and engage. The people have wives, husbands, families, children, dreams, jobs, ideas. The progress for women in Afghanistan, working and being able to read and write and walk in the streets without needing a male escort or covering her face was evident.
And now, in a flash, gone.
Women and girls as young as 12 are raped and forced to marry Taliban fighters. I see my daughter in every one of those girls.
Men and sons are being slaughtered in the streets. I see my son among the bodies of those cast aside on the road.
I see the rhetoric online from those who blame those who voted for our current President. I see the rhetoric from the other side too. I will tell you that the blame game and the pointing of fingers at one another based on who we voted for will do us no good. Period. You can do it if it makes you feel better and sleep better at night, but it doesn't help me. I love people who voted differently. I love people who see differently than I do.
Remember the rhetoric from those who pointed and cursed and accused you because you voted for our last President?
Avoid doing the same. Pointing fingers is going to do nothing. Absolutely nothing.
We need to be on our knees.
Love anyway has now taken on and become my own mission.
You can hate war and recognize that evil exists and realize that you must fight against it. No one who loves the Lord loves war. It is abhorrent. It destroys. It ruins. The aftermath of war isn't just destroyed building and a few lives lost. The ruins go far beyond what we can capture in photos. And the rebuilding after war can take years. Decades. Maybe even centuries.
I, myself, am not a confrontational individual. But I recognize that sometimes you must step in to fight. You must defend yourself and you must defend those you love and care for. Evil is not neutral. It will not operate on the idea of peace because it does not contain peace. It does not have the option of peace and kindness. It does not tolerate the tolerant.
You can still love people, though. We can get on our knees like never before and seek His face to rescue those who are facing the horrors we don’t even want to imagine.
You can despise evil. You can fight against evil. And we can still love people.
The division and angry rhetoric, and the pointing of fingers, though I understand it, believe me, I am angry too, will not do what we think it will.
we can be fighting mad and still move with compassion and prayer and hope.
I love the photo above so much because that sun grazing over the horizon reminds me that hope and life is still available to us. We are not done yet.
It was no accident that God had me happen upon a book written by an individual I may or may not agree with. He wanted me to see through a different lense. What is happening in Afghanistan is not a surprise to God. He knew all of this would happen.
He knew that as I read the pages of the book, that the world would soon be inundated with images of loss, blood, heartache and chaos. Would I still believe in the message of Loving anyway?
While I fight against evil, will I still exhibit love for those I disagree with?
Will I link arms with those I may not share the same perspectives as, but our hearts are broken just the same for what our eyes and minds can’t ignore?
Afghanistan does not need the blame game right now. The people don’t need us pointing fingers.
They need hope. They need care. They need help. They need us to pray.
We are Christians. Let’s act like people who are on the move to share the Hope of the world and pray like we have never prayed before.
Love anyway, even as you are fighting mad.