49 dead, over 50 seriously wounded… the lives of friends and family permanently altered forever.
I believe we (the Christian community) needs a pause, a moment to reflect before we post (or repost), rant or rave, change a profile picture or otherwise comment in the Wild West of social media. Words escape our lips, our pens; our keyboards with such force that we must remember that those words can bring life or add to the pain people are already suffering from.
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21
Can we quiet our opinions for a season and pray before acting, speaking, posting, and commenting? Let’s dare to ask God to check our heart and see if it lines up with His.
The hardship and suffering of others should move us to a gentle response, one that beats in rhythm with the Father’s heart.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15
The tragedy in
is a brutal reminder of how easy it is for evil to inflict devastation and
suffering. Day after day, in one part of the world or another, it violently
takes a defiant pose, shakes its fist at us and dares us to counter its
Although I’m not connected by family or friends to this awful heartbreak, I am connected because God cares for the people involved. My connection to His heart compels me to act like Him. So, how do I, (a devoted Christ follower) effectively respond to such dark, hate filled and evil times?
God’s response to darkness is to send light, a response so radically different than the world’s response. He didn’t send a political solution, new policy or legislation to dispel the darkness.
He sent His son…the light of the world.
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. Isaiah 9:2
The world Jesus entered was brutally dark and deadly. Humanity was under a death sentence of sin and it needed a Messiah…it needed the light.
It still does.
I believe light brings hope, because it exposes life; it brings life into clarity and focus.
We could use some hope.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
“If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.” - Martin Luther King JR
My response to tragedy must contain hope. My comments, my speech, my actions, my opinion must be saturated with the hope that sheds light on truth. Hope consumes the intent of evil and in its place brings peace and the courage to fight on. Solidifying my hold on my rights will not stop the flow of violence nor will the desire for my voice to be heard above the voice of others. My vote will not change this evil, nor will ranting and raving across party lines. Only His light, only His love and forgiveness can work that miracle.
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
If I lose hope, if I refuse to shine the light of the Gospel, if I lack the will to do good… then I give away my heart to lesser things. I must find a way to do good in this world, the idol of my own opinion must be brought down from the high places of ego and I must surrender it to my King.
How do I respond then?
I love like the Messiah…bringing His light into a dark world. I do the good the Master sends me to do. I love with such a ferocious passion the evil of this world gives way to its light. I live the Good News and overcome the evil with the goodness of God.
“Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” Romans 12:21
Be angry yes, but don’t let anger distort your vision and your heart. Get angry at evil, at injustice and the cruelty of sin. Speak up but cover every word with the love of Christ. This is the way to counter evil, bringing hope and love into the fight. His love doesn’t overlook or excuse behavior, it works to change hearts… starting with ours first.
Dear Children, let us not love with word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18