The Orlando Shootings
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
A few days have passed since the deadliest mass shooting in American history, targeting the LGBT community where 49 people were killed and 53 were wounded. The media has been playing the blame game for why these events have occurred – Christians blaming Muslims, LGBTs blaming Christians, Muslims blaming extremists, Atheists blaming religion, our country blaming gun laws, and the list goes on. However, blame ought never be how we respond as believers in Christ. God is the sovereign Lord over all things, and our response always needs to be done with faith, submission, and trust in Him. Here are ways we can respond:
Pray. As often as these types of events seem to occur, our first response as believers should always be to turn to God in prayer. Prayer is asking God to do something to accomplish His will, not ours. When we see acts of outright evil, we are reminded that our fight is not “against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). Pray for God to comfort the families of the victims, to use followers of Christ to be the light of hope in darkness, and to draw people to Himself, even through this tragedy.
Love our Neighbors. The LGBT community is in a vulnerable state as they are once again on the receiving end of hatred. This is an opportunity for believers to demonstrate the sacrificial love of Jesus to them. Though we may disagree on the meaning of marriage and sexuality, an act of terror has been committed against people who are also created in the image of God. Love your fellow LGBT neighbor and empathize where their hurt is coming from no matter what we think about their views. Another way to demonstrate love and support for the tragedy is to donate blood. Many victims were saved due to blood donations, and your contribution could also help in the event of future tragedies. As we care for the fellow image bearers of God with the love of Christ, we build bridges of opportunity that God could use for His glory.
Hope in the Gospel. The Gospel is the true answer to the problems of the world. As our country debates on how stricter gun laws will help and make it more difficult for these mass shootings to occur, as Christians we know that that the problem resides in a much deeper place – the heart. Sin in the heart of man is the source of all hatred that we see in this world. Laws do not solve the problem of sin in our hearts – but the Gospel of Jesus Christ does! Only through the Gospel can the heart of stone turn into a heart of flesh; a heart of hatred turn into a heart of love; a heart of condemnation turn into a heart of forgiveness. When people receive forgiveness from God for their sin through Christ—that is the power of God for change and the answer for all the world’s problems.
As the people of God who have received the Gospel, let’s continue to join God’s mission in bringing the Gospel to those lost in our city and the world because that is the hope for any real change that we might see – to the glory of God.