“Jesus loves the LGBTQ community.”
In the wake of yet another heart-wrenching mass shooting I find myself trying to figure out how I should best respond for myself, my family, and my church.
The fact that it happened in a gay bar does not, in any way, change my frustration with this terrible tragedy.
49 people went out that night without even the glimmer of the thought that this may be their last.
1 man, consumed by anger/insecurity/hate and a devotion to a false god gleefully opened fire and changed the lives of countless friends and family, forever, while securing his own appointment at the judgement seat of Christ.
In the midst of it all, I believe that Jesus wept.
Jesus wept for those that lost their lives.
Jesus wept for those that survived but will inevitably struggle with guilt for being one of the “lucky ones”.
Jesus wept for those that knew Him and would spend an eternity with Him in heaven.
Jesus wept for those that didn’t.
I found that my own hardness to the event was a result of seeing yet another tragedy over the course of my life, listening to too many news stations, and my own experience as an untested counselor trying to help victims in a mass shooting at Wedgwood Baptist Church in 1999.
My kids, however…
My kids hear about each tragedy with horror and disbelief because they have been raised apart from such things.
That a person could be so wrapped in hate that he would open fire on defenseless people and smile…that doesn’t compute for my kids.
I can see them trying to process, trying to understand, and I hate that.
I literally hate that they have to process or try to understand something like this.
I’ve watched as many Christians have reached out in love and care for those that have been traumatized and it reminds me of our purpose in this world…
To share the good news of the love of Christ and His gospel to a hurting world.
The gospel is about God’s love and a supernatural rescue for those that are willing to seek Him.
Those who are willing to see the world differently.
Those who see sin for what it is and want to be forgiven through Christ’s death on the cross.
Those who set the course of their lives on a path to demonstrate that same love for others that Jesus did.
That is our response.
I’ve also watched so-called “followers of Jesus” celebrate the shooting in Orlando because in their eyes, gay men and women are without value and “deserve to die”.
Let me be clear…they do not represent Jesus, or me.
In fact, they represent the only people that Jesus didn’t have compassion for…those who knew the truth and used it to hurt others.
I know these are some of the ones for whom Jesus spoke Matthew 7:21-23 because they claim to know Jesus but their actions are devoid of love or the gospel.
There are many questions and many decisions to be made in the wake of the largest mass shooting in US history, but for us, the church, there is only 1 thing for us to do if we are going to mimic Jesus.
Love the LGBTQ community.
Befriend those who are suffering.
Stand with those who are standing alone…
…and demonstrate the heart of Jesus as he described it himself.
Luke 4:18–19 (NLT)
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, 19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”