Photo by Rayo Rauck
I’m going to start this post by saying that I am veering from my usual single oriented post here, but I have something to say that I hope and pray God will use for His benefit.
This week, we saw yet another tragedy occur with another mass shooting in a high school in Florida. Not only did this disgusting tragedy rock the community in which it occurred, but it also generates fear and hatred in the hearts of those who hear about it. Now, whether you are for or against gun control is not the matter I’m discussing here. I’m discussing how we, as Christians, can help to combat some of the hatred and intolerance that tends to arise in the wake of tragedy.
I work as an occupational therapist in a local school district, so school shootings are, unfortunately, something that I think about on a regular basis. I think it is sad and pathetic that we, as a society, have allowed it to be necessary to have regular “lock down” drills and “active shooter” drills. My sister works for a local university and her first week on the job, they had to go through a whole “active shooter” training session and then run through a drill. She was the first one who would have been shot if the situation had been real. I find it sad, disturbing, and downright infuriating that we have allowed things to progress this badly. These situations occur far too frequently, so when will we finally stand up and say that this is NOT okay?
I’m well aware that we live in a fallen world that is run by evil. People are fallible and we all sin. Mental illness is a very real player in these situations, and this is something that needs to be addressed, as well. But we, as Christians, need to do our part to combat the evil that runs rampantly in this world and help to spread God’s peace and love to everyone. We cannot do this by keeping quiet. Christ calls us to be His hands and feet, thus implying that action must be taken. We can combat these evils with the ultimate weapon that God bestowed upon us and that gift is LOVE.
Romans 12:9-14 says “love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Paul advises us to hate evil and cling to what is good. We must be the ones to spread the good news of God’s love. We must be joyful, patient, and faithful to seek God in all things, even tragedy.
We need to combat these situations by not alienating certain people. We need to make outsiders feel welcome and safe. We need to help those who may be not so silently “crying” for help. Get them the counseling, mentorship, or whatever it is that they need to feel successful and loved and prevent such needless catastrophes from happening again or least prevent them from happening with the same astounding frequency.
We all hurt in different ways. That’s just a fact of life. But we need to bring the message of Christ’s love for all people, to all people. When people are hurting and get lost in this fallen world (or worse, feel alienated and judged by people, such as the church), they will often turn to the demons that dwell inside. Without the Holy Spirit to guide them, they cannot block out the manipulative lies of the enemy, which can ultimately lead them to harm others or themselves.
Now, I don’t know all of the details surrounding the specific events that happened in Florida and I’m sure we will learn more about it in the days to come. What I do know is that this world needs more love and God is love. In times of struggle, we need to listen, respectfully, to each other and work together, not against one another, to find a solution to a very real problem. This is not the time for division, but a time for everyone to unite and offer real support to the victims and their families and to make a true solution to a problem that affects us all. We must honor those who have died from these senseless acts by doing what we can to prevent them from happening again. Those responsible must be held accountable, of course, but ultimately this is a cry for help from our society to heal those who may be hurting and planning to hurt others in return.
I am, by no means, claiming to have the answer to a very complex societal problem. I am also well aware that love in and of itself may never physically stop a bullet. What I do know is that the answer must be found through Christ, who was the perfect embodiment of God’s peace and love. The answer cannot be found by listening to the taunts of the evil one, we must seek God’s wisdom in these matters and allow Him to change our hearts and minds through the Holy Spirit.
We must allow Him to comfort and protect us so that we may spread His love, comfort, and protection to those who have been directly and indirectly impacted by this tragedy. While He may not always physically protect our bodies (there are many examples in the bible when people’s bodies were martyred for their faith), He WILL protect our souls eternally as long as we faithfully believe in Him. So I challenge you to do more than pray for the families and victims, but to actually go out and spread God’s love through action. Do this in sincerity as a genuine gesture to help combat the evil forces that seek to destroy not only our lives here on earth, but our hope in the future of heaven.
Be love warriors, my friends, and know that God is always with you!