I see a really broken city around me, even though it’s not a city you’ll hear about on the news that much. See, I live in Macon. And around here, it’s got a nasty reputation.
You might be wondering how a city can have a reputation for being bad but not make national news. I don’t know. In the past year alone, some of the major news stories include:
- a woman stabbing her boyfriend with a dog food bowl shard at the Waffle House (where’s @floridaman when you need him)
- several police officers shot and killed
- at least one person dying almost every single day
- several house fires, many of which are suspected arson
That’s not even all of them. Or very many specifics (but if you google this place, it’s got a “very high” crime rate). And that’s just crime. It’s not really taking into account all the homelessness, the poverty rates, the unemployment rates. Macon is what you might call a broken city, and people hate it.
Honestly, I used to be one of those people. I moved 540 miles away from it and tried to shake away my past. “I’m from Georgia,” I’d say, but I’d never speak about Macon except with my closest friends. But I’ve been learning something since I’ve been put back in this broken city: the only way we will ever fix Macon is if we start loving it. How did Jesus heal people and places and situations and even my heart? With love. Undying, unfailing, would do anything for it love. Not running away. Not getting out. And even though money would certainly help improve some of the situations, money is not going to heal this city. Just love.
And to love a city, you’ve got to really feel a burden for it. You’ve got to hurt in your heart about how broken it is. You’ve got to feel passion and compassion. Loving is not passive. Loving is active. Loving a whole city is real active. You’ve got to really feel for it.
I’m not perfect at this yet. I’m not even good, really. But I’m trying my absolute hardest, and every day my love for Macon is growing. Even the other day, when my dad said “What could you expect, he’s from Macon?” I got a little offended.
I’m from Macon. It’s my home. And I think I’m turning out okay.
I’m from Macon. I used to cringe when I said that. But now I’m a little proud.
I’m from Macon. I’m learning to love it. And I think if we all could, maybe Macon would be the shining jewel it used to be.