My heart grieves deeply with…
Palestinians and Israelis who are being devastated by violence — Jewish, Muslim, Christian…beloved, human.
Haitians living in a gang-controlled capital, victims of murder, abduction, extortion, and sexual violence.
Venezuelans who have been experiencing a humanitarian crisis in the form of utter privation, severe food and medicine shortages, the spread of infectious disease, and the world’s largest international displacement crisis.
The people of the Sahel region in western and central Africa who have experienced violent extremism since the 1960s as a result of political and economic hardship, as well as the worsening effects of climate change.
The 9,000+ people killed and nearly 6 million displaced in Sudan over the past 6 months, and their loved ones, as a result of a bitter power struggle between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces, amidst a cholera outbreak.
The people of the rebel controlled Central African Republic where coalitions of militant Muslim groups fight coalitions of militant Christians (Christians who have primarily attacked Muslim civilians — not unlike the Hamas attack in Gaza…yea). Nearly 6 percent of the entire population died in 2022; over 1 million have been displaced by violence.
The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo. 6 million of them have died since 1996 as a result of war. Many of their children labor in Congolese mines owned and operated by Chinese companies who make the products Americans consume…yea, possibly the one you’re using right now.
The lovely people of South Sudan facing political instability and chaos where armed groups have targeted civilians based on ethnicity, have violently raped women, have destroyed and looted villages, and have recruited and used child soldiers.
Ethiopians who endure a civil war and Tigrayans who are experiencing ethnic cleansing there; as well as powerless women and children of other Ethiopian ethnic groups who have been victims of violence and war there.
Somalis who have been victimized by al-Shabaab militants (US violence/airstrikes have contributed to the death toll)
Victims of war in Yemen, 11 million of whom are children.
Lebanese people reeling from political disarray born of unresolved civil conflict between Maronite Christians, Shiite Muslims, and Sunni Muslims.
Unfortunately, the list goes on for quite a while: violence in Mexico, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Armenia, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Taiwan, North Korea, and in neighborhoods across the United States.
If you feel like there’s just too much to bear, you’re not alone. What should we do? What can we do? Lament…. wait there; keep lamenting…
Now, create healthy boundaries so you’re not constantly consuming all the brokenness in the world. Remember that not all of us have the privilege to make healthy boundaries because we are currently experiencing what others are only reading about. Some of us can’t hit pause when the content becomes too graphic. Get factual information about a select few issues that you find yourself being drawn to at a heart level, not simply because of the media attention it’s being given at the time. Contemplate — “mere information tends to break things apart into competing ideologies” (Rohr, 2023). Discern ways to oppose violence and advocate for peace (peace – shalom – is much more than the opposite of war). Identify ways you and/or your group are complicit (i.e. Christianity’s historic role in the Israel-Palestine conflict). Be about love and justice, starting with your neighborhood.