The post I had planned for this week has been set aside as I feel writing about anything other than the tragedy in Orlando would dishonour those most acutely affected by it. But I also struggle to write anything. I doubt I can add anything of real value to what has already been said.
And I don’t want to take advantage of the Orlando shootings as a platform for political views either. Something both sides of the political spectrum continue to do. Finger pointing doesn’t change anything anyway.
We’ve all spent this week reeling from the tragic news of yet another mass shooting. The worst one yet. It was with great sadness that I watched the details unfold.
The weekend events have had a 9/11 kind of impact on me. I remember then how everything seemed to change after that day. But now, I’m afraid that nothing will change…because nothing has changed. Political rhetoric will continue to flow, political lines in the sand will be drawn, the same arguments will be echoed and the same statements will be made. But to what end?
The sad reality is that sooner than later, the news cycle will draw us away from the heart issues of Orlando, to the next headline the news outlets deem important enough to report.
It’s not a surprise or shock to me, that we have witnessed another mass shooting. That too makes me sad. It’s just one in a long line that continues to grow. Apparently, there were 5 other shootings over the weekend that we haven’t heard much about and 1 every 5 or 6 days is the average now.
It would be easy to become disillusioned, distraught and default to despair. But is there is another option?
How can we respond to the Orlando shootings?
We can mourn with those who mourn.
I can’t fathom the pain and loss that the families & friends of the victims are going through. And from my back row seat my reactions seem inconsequential. But we are called upon to mourn with those who mourn, even from a distance.
But as we mourn, perhaps we’ll become more sensitive to the grief and pain that others are experiencing close to home as well. May we have eyes to see and hearts open to the pain and despair of those near us.
We can love our enemies…and our friends.
The latter is easy, the former not so much. I have an obligation and an opportunity to love other people regardless of their morality, lifestyle or worldview.
It’s what Jesus did too. The Bible tells me that Jesus loved me even though I was a sinner. He loved me so much, He died for me. Regardless of my morality, lifestyle and worldview Jesus loved me enough to lay down His life for me. The only thing that would give me life.
We don’t have to agree with someone to love them.
My life was completely in opposition to everything God was. I was far from him and my sin separated me from Him. And Jesus loved me still.
Don’t we have to live this way anyway? I mean, I love my wife, but I don’t always agree with her. I love my children but I don’t always agree with them. You may not always agree with your boss, your mother-in-law or your best best friend but aren’t we to love them anyway?
As soon as we place criteria on how we will treat others, we’ve stopped loving them.
“If we only love people who love us back, we make our faith look like a negotiation.” Bob Goff
In light of yet another mass shooting, we can sink into new depths of despair or we can rise above our differences and choose to love others regardless of what they are…that’s what Jesus did for me and you. It’s the least we can do for others.
“You have heard the law that says, Love your neighbour, and hate your enemy. But I say, Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you.” Matt 5:43-44
We can mourn with those who mourn and we can love them without condition.
Let this be our response. Let this be my response.