Our county is once again mourning the loss of multiple lives at the hands of misguided individuals. We are at a moral crossroad that must be navigated with care. We can either abandon the truth and retreat deeper into apathy, or we can reclaim the moral high ground and revitalize our community. I’d like to share 3 thoughts with you on how we can reclaim the moral high ground.
God rescued Israel and invited them to be “His” people. As they entered into this new relationship with God, He commanded them to love God and to show love to each other. “You shall not murder” Exodus 20:13, is a commandment born out of a love for God and our fellow man. Stated another way, “You shall not murder” can be expressed as “You shall love life”. We shall love the lives given to us by God and love the lives of all of his creation. This love moves us with compassion. Compassion is what happens when we care about another person’s life circumstances and seek to do good on their behalf. A heart filled with compassion will not seek to gain at the expense of someone else’s demise. It will always try to find a way for everyone to be helped. Compassion resists the selfishness that disregards others. Instead, a compassionate heart realizes blessing others will help them reap the benefits that contribute to self interest.
We live in changing times. According to Gallup, in the year 2000, U. S. Church membership in America was 70%. That means 7 out of 10 people claimed to belong to a church, synagogue or mosque. In 2020, only 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque. Less than half the people in our country are engaging with the faith community where the moral teaching of “You shall not murder” is communicated. This moral foundation must be communicated beyond the walls of our local places of worship. As a community, we must speak these words into the hearing of our children. We must communicate this timeless truth to anyone and everyone, at any time, and in every place.
In order to add substance to the words “You shall not murder”, we must uphold the commandment with conviction. We must say it and support it. We support this commandment by speaking up when others violate the command. What does that look like? It looks like helping local law enforcement agencies identify and convict the perpetrators. When we see something, we must say something. For the sake of our community, we must have the courage to stand up for our convictions and speak up for justice. If we believe murder is wrong, then we must call out the wrong and let justice make it right. The end result conviction is a community that recognizes there is a tangible penalty for wrong doing. That alone may deter others from seeking to do harm.
Lead with love and compassion. Communicate truth and let it spread in our community. Uphold what is right and allow conviction to purge our land of wrongdoing. Then and only then will we reclaim the moral high ground.