As our last worship service concluded this past Sunday, news of the horrible terrorist shooting in Orlando started to make its way through our congregation. I quickly pulled up a news website on my phone and began reading the gruesome details.
It is hard to imagine how the family members of those who were killed feel. Their loved ones are gone, and their deaths were a result of an act of hatred directed at our country and a particular lifestyle. Many of those who were injured and survive will spend the rest of their lives rehabilitating.
This event is despicable, as are all of the mass shootings that have taken place over recent years in our nation. Each one robs us of a piece of our sense of security and well-being.
What happened in Orlando reminds us of a few things that should matter to all of us:
First, every soul is precious to God. Anyone in the Orlando nightclub who died without Jesus passed from this life without the hope of salvation. If I believe everyone needs to be covered by grace, then I should ask myself what I am doing to make sure no one dies without knowing what Jesus did for him or her on the cross. If I have convinced myself there are those in my world who are so far away from God they can’t possibly find their way back home, I need to re-examine the Bible. Perhaps I am the one who has wandered too far.
Hate is contagious. Maybe you have read this statement by Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), a Protestant minister who spent seven years in a Nazi concentration camp: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” We don’t have to agree with a lifestyle to understand the implications of hate and lawlessness. We should pray for our country and for our leaders as we find the best ways to reduce violent crimes against people groups, as well as senseless acts of terrorism.
This is a time for weeping. It is a time to weep for those who have lost their lives and those who are injured. We should grieve that we live in a world where people use the name of God as a vehicle to undermine the foundations of our civilization.
This is a time for prayer. If you aren’t accustomed to praying on your knees, this is a good time to start. Before you go to bed tonight, get down on your knees and pour your heart out to God. Confess we are incapable of solving our world’s problems by ourselves and ask God to show us the way out of the mess we are in.
This is a time for humility. It seems everyone knows exactly how to solve the world’s problems. If this is the case, then why do we continue to struggle? You say it isn’t because you aren’t in a position to do anything? If you were in power, you would fix the problem? Perhaps we have too many repairmen and not enough manufacturers. It is time to build on the firm foundation of God’s truth and grow His kingdom from the ground up.
We must search our souls. The day has passed when we can sit in the peanut gallery and tell others what needs to be done. It is time to do.
If we don’t, we are done.