Overcome Hatred in Orlando

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21

My heart is broken.  This past Sunday 49 people were mercilessly executed in Orlando, Florida.  Over 50 others suffered injuries and countless numbers of friends and family members will forever feel the pain of loss.  The total amount of damage done can never be calculated.

This tragedy hits home for me.  No, I didn’t know anyone who has harmed that day.  I sit in stunned silence as I see the response of men who claimed to Christian spew despicable hatred where love and compassion mark the only acceptable Christian response to this tragedy.  These are men who claim to love the same Jesus I love.  These are men who claim to be part of my family, the family of God.  These are men who claim to be like me, and I want nothing to do with them whatsoever.

I’m speaking of men like Steven Anderson, Roger Jimenez, and, of course, the Westboro Baptist Church.  I will not be guilty of spreading their hate by quoting their responses here on my blog.  I just want to state for the record, I hate their hate.  I denounce their hate-filled, venomous tirades against victims of a horrible tragedy.

They were gay, I get it.  As a Christian I completely affirm the definition of marriage given by Jesus Himself.  I completely affirm God’s design for sexuality between men and women.  Yet, I weep over the deaths of these victims and I weep together with the LGBT community as the Bible tells me to do (Romans 12:15).   I weep over the loss of those who bore the image of God just as I do.  According to Jesus, these were the neighbors I have been commanded to love as myself.

Was God judging their sin?  I do not know, and neither do you.  Here’s what I do know, God is a gracious God.  I experience his grace each and every moment I draw breath.  I am a guilty sinner.  I have transgressed his law and rebelled against his will.  If I condemn the homosexual with my out-pointed index finger, I recognized I have three fingers pointing right back at me exposing the heinous sins I have committed.  If God were bent on judging sin, I would wonder why he did not first begin with me.  I bask in his love and mercy, that same love and mercy I would think we would want to show a broken community at this very moment.  I’m not asking you to deny any part of God’s Holy Word.  I am asking that you examine your own lives and remember how God has been gracious to you, despite your sins.

These people were targets.  They were targets of hate because of their sexuality.  My fear is that the LGBT community will continue to be targets – not of radical Islam but of the Church of Jesus Christ.  Many seem to have an “us vs. them” mentality.  They are the enemy.  These are the folks who are advancing the wicked gay agenda and must be stopped by every political means available.  My brothers and sisters, the LGBT community is not the enemy.  No person on this planet is our enemy.  We do not wrestle against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12).  Instead, we are told love and pray for our enemy (Matthew 5:44) and preach the life-saving gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15).

Yes, preach repentance.  Yes, preach against sin.  Please, we need it!  But, without love, what good is any of that (I Cor 13:1-2)?  You are not merely told to preach the truth, you are commanded to preach it in love (Eph 4:15).  Where is your love?  How does your response to this horrific tragedy show your love for others?  This world needs the gospel as never before.  Your neighbor needs to know of Jesus.  The LGBT community needs to know of the gospel.  The radical Jhadists that would rather kill us than hear us, need to know of their sin and the wonderful grace of God.  Let’s not ruin our witness with hate.  Instead, let us hold fast to the Word of Truth.  Let us love as Jesus loved.  Let us preach as Jesus preached.  Let us serve those who Jesus served.

Not many people read this blog.  I don’t know if this little post will mean anything to anyone.  It will probably be lost in the echo chamber of the internet as others have said what I am saying yet with more clarity and attention.  But, with whatever little voice I may have, I will use it to renounce hatred and proclaim the love of Christ.

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