Thursday, June 16, 2016

How should Christians view the recent events in Orlando?

Shouldn't we see everything the way God does? Here are words from God on this very issue: “‘As I live!’ declares the Lord God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 33:11).

This reveals some truths about how we, as Christians, should view the killings in Orlando: first, we should grieve that these lives were snuffed out. Those who were killed were people for whom Jesus died.  The Bible tells us, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Second, each of us needs to repent of our sins and live for God, “…but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 33:11). The reason these heinous acts of violence occur is because we humans persist in our rebellion against our Creator.  God created us to live according to His standard. When we reject that standard, and live according to any other standard, we can expect things to go badly.  How would your car run if, instead of putting gasoline in its tank, you put water in it?  The car was designed to run on gasoline; it will not function properly if the gas tank is full of water.  We, individually and collectively, do not function properly when we reject God and His lordship.

It has been said of late that Christians are to blame for this tragedy in Orlando.  It is said that, because we express our belief that homosexuality is something that God condemns, we have fostered a climate that encourages violence toward the LGBTQ community.  This could not be farther from the truth.  No Christian, seeking to live like Jesus, will hope for anything but the best for every one of his or her fellow humans…regardless of race, sexuality, gender, religious beliefs, etc.  We hope for the same thing God hopes for, “…who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Timothy 2:4).

When Christians voice the biblical teaching that God considers homosexuality a sin, we are, “…speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15); in the same way a doctor would tell a patient about an illness that he discovered in that patient.  Would anyone consider that doctor to be loving if, instead of telling the patient about the illness and prescribing a cure, the doctor just kept the knowledge of the illness to himself and allowed the patient to die?  Especially, if there was a cure the doctor could administer that would cure the patient. 

Still, the accusations persist that Christians, when we point out the sin rampant in our society today, are ‘hate-mongers’ and ‘bigots’ and ‘un-loving’…even though we offer the cure for all of humanity’s ills at the same time.

Granted, there have been some very hateful and unloving things said during all this, by some who identify themselves as Christians. To those people I say, “If you were truly followers of Jesus, you would extend His love, not your hate”.

Following our God, true Christians, “…take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live”.  May Christians everywhere continue to pray and act in a manner that reflects the love of God.

***NOTE: All Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible