Good morning, Taproot.
It’s been a couple of days since the shooting in Orlando. By now you’ve likely read numerous articles, opinions, and arguments–some wise and some foolish–about this tragedy. Having had some time to think through it myself, I wanted to share some thoughts in an effort to guide our hearts and minds as a local church.
We ought to mourn
We cycle through information in our culture at a pace no human has the ability to handle. News that ought to be before our eyes for an extensive period of time is often pushed to the bottom of a webpage–out of sight and out of mind–far too quickly. Part of the consequences of this is that we’ve forgotten how to mourn.
Let me encourage you to not move on from this too quickly. There is reason for us to mourn as a church and a community, and we should do so.
Russell Moore wrote a more extensive piece about mourning together. You can read it here.
The LGBT community DID NOT deserve this
I’m sickened, and my heart breaks, any and every time I see someone declare that this was an act of God’s judgment on the LGBT community. “They deserved it,” or “they had it coming to them,” are thoughts that we should vehemently guard our hearts and minds against, and are words which should never be uttered from our mouths.
No, we don’t condone the sin of homosexuality. But let me be clear…we also don’t condone anger, pride, malice, gossip, and the like. Furthermore, we don’t condone any type of sexuality that is outside of God’s design. Apart from the context of a heterosexual marriage, sex is sin. (Much more can be said about this that this article won’t address).
A person is a person. And regardless of lifestyle choices, all people are image bearers of God. I pray this is how we would view the LGBT community. I pray this is how we would view the Muslim community. Before we find ourselves disgusted by their sin, looking for a stone to throw, we need to see them as someone fearfully and wonderfully made by our gracious God.
The good news of the gospel is that Jesus was judged in our place. He, though he didn’t deserve it, bore that wrath (judgment) of God that we all deserve. So before we attempt to think, “they deserved it,” stop for a minute to praise the God who hasn’t given us what we deserve.
Think about what you read and hear
Anyone and everyone who has a platform to write or say something about a tragedy like this does. My voice is only one among millions. But I want my voice to be specific to our church and the context of our city.
The tragedy beneath the tragedy of this event is that it’s been missed for what it really is and has been used as a political platform. As a church, I want us to be so very careful about turning this into a political “he said, she said,” type of fight. At the end of the day, this tragedy is not about ISIS, Islam, the LGBT community, gun rights, or Republican versus Democrat. It’s about sin. This shooting was a show of human depravity that should drive us to our knees. The next President is not going to fix any of this. Only King Jesus can.
Finally, Taproot, I encourage you to pray. Pray for the LGBT community. Pray for the Muslim community. Pray for the leaders of our country. Pray for the churches. Pray for the kingdom of Jesus to come. Let your feelings of hopelessness, despair, fear, doubt, and anger drive you to your knees.
Some day, these things will be no more. Bullets won’t fly. Terror won’t exist. Tears will not be shed. Hate will be gone. We’ll be with Jesus face to face. Until then, we pray for the redemption and renewal of our cities and nations. We faithfully follow Jesus even in the midst of great fears. And we pray he comes quickly.
Christ is all!