As many of you know, I am a big fan of Fred “Mr.” Rogers. I feel his life and wisdom still has a profound effect on our culture and in my heart. There are many nuggets of wisdom that Fred Rogers shared with the world. One of the most well known is the story he shared about advice he received from his mother when he was little. As a little boy, he would see scary images on the news and seek comfort from his mother. His mother would tell him, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people helping.” She was alluding to the fact that in midst of a frightening disaster, you can find people trying to help out. And, those images of the helpers can fill us with hope and positivity to overcome our fear and anger.
This is great advice for a preschooler. For adults, it may be simplistic, and it may distract us from the truth behind tragic events. However, I do find that there is something personally therapeutic about finding images of hope in the middle of being blasted by images of hate.
A little less than six years ago, riots broke out very close to home following the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer. The recent riots across the nation following the killing of George Floyd under the knee of a police officer bring back very uncomfortable and troubling memories for us here outside of St Louis County.
Many of you are angry, many of you are afraid, many of you are heartbroken and many of you are experiencing these emotions for different reasons. It is easy to give in to anger, hate and judgement. It is easy to point a finger and condemn. It is easy to group a large group of people into categories such as racists, or terrorists, or instigators, or thugs. And, the images we see online and on our televisions can reinforce our hate and anger depending on how we look at the events unfolding across the nation.
Let us not give in to hate, or judgement. Let us not return a hateful comment with one just as hateful. Let us not let fear cloud our opinions or reactions.
Let us instead look for hope. Let us look for images and evidence that God is still working in this situation even though it may be hard to see it. Google the following images. They are all wonderful images of hope.
- In Nashville, an officer and a protester took a moment to pray together.
- Steve Mylett, police chief in Bellevue, Washington, hugged demonstrators.
- A protester hugged police officers in Lexington, Kentucky.
- Police officers kneel during a rally in Coral Gables, Florida.
- A protester reads a Bible in front of a line of National Guard members in Minneapolis.
There are many more images like this that can feed our soul, our hope and reinforce our belief that God is still active in this situation. Don’t give it to despair, hopelessness, fury, hate or judgement.
Look for the helpers. Look for hope. Look for God’s activity. And pray that God’s peace, hope, justice and love will win the day.
Blessings in Christ,