We’ve just experienced our most heinous mass shooting on American soil by a lone gunman. As we host exchange students from other countries, how do we address the emotions and questions that arise when an American citizen perpetrates such destruction in the land of the free and the brave? For those who were directly affected by this atrocity, our hearts ache for them. For the rest of us who witnessed this, we are left struggling with painful questions concerning humanity. We feel anger, confusion, and hurt. We blame, criticize, and isolate. We pray, reach out to others, and search for hope.
Yes, there is hope. We have the power to choose to be victims or victors. Do we cave to evil by giving voice to it by blaming and criticizing? Or do we encourage, build up, and speak in love? Do we act out in fear and anxiety or show kindness and love?
Host parents have a unique opportunity to care for foreign students, to come alongside them in their hurt and confusion, to listen and respond to their hearts with love. Students, stateside and international, can show kindness and share in their goodness toward each other. And for all of us, we can look beyond our limited knowledge and draw on our faith that is greater than ourselves.
As thinking, feeling people, we have the power and freedom to choose faith, hope and love. Let’s be brave and choose these.