On June 12, at 4:17am, I heard my notification alarm on my phone. In somewhat of a daze, I looked to see a breaking news story that read "Multiple People Injured in Shooting in Orlando Nightclub." Thinking nothing of it, I went back to bed. By the time I woke up at 6am to get ready for an early morning breakfast meeting the death toll was at 20. Then as I was heading to church another update, "Death Toll Rises to 50 Dead, 53 Injured." As I read the story my heart sank. 50 people lost their life to a radical Islamic terrorist who apparently hated people identified with the LGBT community. Then I asked myself a question, "does it really matter?"
Does it matter that 50 people in a well-known gay bar lost their life? If it doesn't then I can just move on with my life. I'm still going to work on Monday, sleeping in my own bed and mowing my own grass. Nothing has to change. As long as I can have that attitude, does the life of Christina Grimmie who was gunned down for being a Christian just a day earlier in the same city matter? What about any of these people:
3 killed during the Boston Marathon in 2013.
9 killed at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.
26 killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.
37 killed after being struck by lighting thus far in 2016.
169 killed in the Oklahoma City bombing.
278 murdered in Chicago thus far in 2016.
293 killed from smoking in bed thus far in 2016.
2700 killed so far in 2016 because someone was texting.
2996 killed on September 11 by extremist.
19,000 suicides so far in 2016.
138,000 who died from obesity thus far in 2016.
Do any of these lives really matter and why should I care?
They do matter to people who seek to exploit them for their personal or political agenda. It seems to matter to the well-meaning but insensitive people on social media outlets who would argue with their own shadow if it had a voice. They certainly matter to family and friends who are left to pick up the pieces after tragedy happens.
However, they are of the utmost importance to the one whose breath brought life to dust. He then hand crafted the process to form every life since.
Ecclesiastes 11:5 says,
"As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things."
As our lives become exceedingly complicated with cultural issues, let’s not fall into the trap complicating the simple truth of the answer. That God loved us enough to take the last breath of his son Jesus and once again breathe life back into our broken condition. Everyone has the right to this gift, no matter how many times they’ve rejected him.
Have the courage to stand for the right of people to know whom this Jesus is and what he did for them. Let’s not stiff-arm people by constantly reminding them of their sin, but rather open your arms wide and show them that if Christ can love you with all your mess, loving them is easy.
Lastly, stop thinking that loving people is a validation of their sin. It’s recognizing they are a life hand-crafted in a womb, known by the Creator before creation was created and that a man named Jesus Christ that died for them.
So while the culture is blaming, scheming, yelling, demeaning and politicizing, we should pray. Pray for the families of these recent tragedies. Pray for our government officials. Pray to have the strength of Samson to stand for truth, the wisdom of Solomon to navigate sensitive issues and the grace of God to be upon us.
Fear Not, Fight Well