Christians all over are wondering how they should react to this tragedy.
My question is, “Why are they wondering?”
Imagine, for a minute, a conversation between an elder in your church and Jesus that goes something like this:
Just then a deacon stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Lord, what do I need to live with you forever?”
Jesus answered, “What do you think my handbook, the Bible, says?”
He said, “Believe in You to be saved. That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”
“Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.”
Looking for a loophole, the man asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?”
Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man in the parking lot of a parking lot of a local gay bar. On his way he was attacked by haters of this man’s way of life. They tore his clothes, beat him up, raped him and went off leaving him to die. Luckily, a pastor of that large megachurch down the street was jogging by, but when he saw him the gay man lying in a dirty heap on the street, he quickly crossed the street across to the other side. Then a deacon from the local evangelical church showed up to collect clothing from the Salvation Army Dumpster to give to the poor; when he saw the beat up man lying there as if in a drugged stupor, he rolled his eyes, loaded his car and left.
“A Christian Biker Group traveling the road came on him. When they saw the man’s condition, their heart went out to him. One man ripped off his t-shirt to hold on the man’s head to stop the bleeding while a second covered his with his leather jacket and a third one called 911. The entire group followed the ambulance to the hospital where they held a prayer vigil until they knew the man was going to be okay. They went to the man’s house, mowed his lawn and cleaned out his backed up rain gutters.
“What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man brutally attacked by haters?”
“The ones who treated him kindly,” the elder responded.
Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”
Does the story sound familiar? It should. It is the story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10. Now before you go and say, “Hey, that’s not how that story goes!” I want you to consider Jesus’ point. Back when Jesus was walking the Earth, the despised and hated people of his native family were the Samaritans. The Jews did not feel the Samaritans were living within God’s law and yet this is how Jesus chose to show the Pastors, Deacons and Elders of His day as well as anyone who had an ear to listen, that This was what love was truly about…..
This is what being His follower is all about!
Some Christians often use 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 to validate showing hatred to those in the LGBT community, but they miss a couple of points that were being made in that letter.
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[ nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
If you go back and read those verses in the context of the entire chapter you may discover the point you thought was being made was entirely wrong. The entire chapter was about judging other Christians!
If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers! The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified,you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:1-10 NIV
And now I want you to consider the second point being made:
Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral (think porn), nor idolaters (television, computer, your phone, etc.), nor adulterers (even merely thinking about it), nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves (taking that stack of printing paper home because the company has plenty and will never miss it!) , nor the greedy (not sharing what God had blessed you with), nor drunkards, nor slanderers (liars, gossip!), nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were.
We all sin! We all are saved by grace! And none of us are in a position to judge anyone else who may be outside of God’s law.
They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” John 8:7
Jesus wants us to love those in spite of what they do because He loved us in spite of what we did and often still do!
Don’t forget what Jesus did when He was on this earth!
While He did not condone their actions, He spent time with the “sinners” of His day and ministered to them.
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
You don’t have to agree with someone to show that you and Jesus cares!
As for the LGBT community who was torn apart by violence,
Imagine your loved one in a place because they did this or drugs or were at a party with alcohol and were killed either by murder or accident…. wouldn’t you still grieve? Wouldn’t you want others to hurt with you? Wouldn’t you want them to place their arms around you and hold you even for a moment? Wouldn’t you want them to listen to you? Wouldn’t you want them to send you a sympathy card?
These are people He created … and fellow Americans!
Al qaeda may think Americans will have less sympathy for this community. They may know that some Christians will be judgmental enough to not even care… but that is not what Jesus would want us to do.
#Mourn with those who mourn! Pray for Orlando!