“We just need to love on each other”
I’ve learned that this phrase, used even by a well-meaning person, typically means that we are going to do nothing to improve the individual or collective well-being. Often it is served up with a side dish of judgement, while having an excuse for not leaving one’s comfort zone.
By accounts, yesterday’s tragic school shooting in Kentucky was the 11th school shooting in the United States for 2018. Let that sink in for a moment. We’ve had eleven school shootings in the first 23 days of the calendar year.
The governor of Kentucky released a statement encouraging folks to “love on each other” during this time.” He might as well just have said “we are going to do nothing while I continue to accept large donations from the NRA.” I will give him credit for adding to the standard thoughts and prayers line by calling upon folks “to love on each other” during this time. He sounds like the misguided youth pastor at the local fundamentalist church.
Let me be clear- love is the focus of my ministry- God’s inclusive love for all people. I believe love is at the center of the lives of all who seek to follow Jesus. In no way do I want to diminish the important role love and the sharing of love plays in our lives and in the lives of the church.
My experience is that when someone uses the phrase, “we just need to love on each other” it rarely has much to do with God’s love. It’s a phrase we use to absolve ourselves from acting. It produces the kind of love that is a poor substitute for real love. You can’t claim that Jesus is your source and example of love and then do nothing about the gun violence in our communities.
Real love will create a deep sense of mourning for the loss of life due to senseless gun violence.
Real love asks us to examine what influences us to have such a fear-based world view in which our youth feel they need to bring a gun to school.
Real love calls us to acknowledge the sinful epidemic of gun violence in our land
Real love asks us to examine our own lives and habits.
Real love calls us to do something because one precious life lost to gun violence is one too many.
Real love is more powerful than the NRA and its influence.
Real love moves us to enforce and enact sensible gun laws because life is more important than our right to bear arms at any cost.