Violence, suicide, shootings, racial slurs, and bullying are rampant, and it seems that these are occurring more and more. One just has to watch the news on television, read the newspaper, or hear it in the streets. Children and young adults are scared, and parents fear for their children's lives.
I know how these children and adults feel. I was one of them. I was an innocent target towards which bullets of learned hatred were aimed.
When our family emigrated from Germany to Canada in 1957, it wasn't very long until the children in school found out where I had come from and what my heritage was. I was ten years old, but I was branded as a Nazi and a Hitler-lover. There came a time when I became ashamed of my heritage and retreated into silence. Eventually, children accepted me for who I was and not where I had come from.
Throughout history, society always finds scapegoats. At first, it was the Jews, then the Japanese, then the Germans, then Muslims, and now the target seems to be Syrian refugees. There are still people today who are fearful of what they do not know or understand. It seems that there will always be a few individuals, filled with hatred, who will cause havoc and create fear for each ethnic group or individuals.
Over two thousand years ago, Jesus became the scapegoat for humanity. Back then, as now, people in prominent positions were fearful of the One they didn't understand, shouting insults and accusations at Him, and finally crucifying Him.
Matthew 27:22-23 – Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said, "Crucify Him!" And he said, "Why, what evil has He done?" But they kept shouting all the more, saying, "Crucify Him!" (NASB)
Do we continue to crucify Christ in our actions and non-action? What can we do today to help the innocent?
Prayer: Lord God, we pray that You would grant discernment and understanding to us and remove the veils of hatred and fear. Grant forgiveness, wisdom, and love to all who are struggling. Help us to accept each other in love. Help us to be peacemakers and to stand up for those who are marginalized. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Holy God We Praise Thy Name" (Lyrics)