The news of the tragedy in Orlando shocked me to the core as I drove home from church yesterday.
When I heard of the mass shooting which had taken place at a gay night-club in Orlando my heart broke. Forty-nine people dead, over fifty more injured. An event which is now the largest mass shooting in the United States. Why? What was the motivation of the twenty-nine year old Muslim man who perpetrated this atrocity?
- Terrorist ideology
The idea of innocent people being targeted because of such demonic hatred (for that is what is behind such evil) is anethama to me.
I've struggled with how to share my thoughts but here's what has been on my heart throughout the day. I want respond to this act of terrorism (and yes, that is in my opinion what this horrifying massacre was) without fear. As a nation, we must not allow this violent act to achieve its goal--terror. Rather, we must do what we can in our spheres of influence to come together in solidarity with those who have lost so much. And do what we can to address the issue of terrorism, hate crimes, bigotry, and religious extremism.
Now, how can I as a Christian do that? By making sure the following are always part of the way I interact with people:
- Love: No matter what ideological differences I may have with others all discussions and interactions must be tempered in love. Always.
- Prayer: As a Christian who understands spiritual warfare prayer is my first line of offense and defense. This must always be a priority. Prayer must be part of my life 24-7.
- Compassion: Reaching out to people motivated by concern, empathy, mercy, tolerance (without compromising my bibilical beliefs), kindness, and being winsome in my conversations.
- Share the Gospel: God's mercy, grace, and forgiveness is what will change hearts, minds, and lives to the way of peace. Jesus called all of us who follow Him to share the good news of His love and way of salvation.
From the Lord's teaching from the Sermon on the Mount--Matthew 5:1-10 NLT
"One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them.
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs."