As most of you are aware, there was a horrible terrorist shooting in Orlando, Florida. This was clearly the worst mass shooting in the past 100-plus years.
Sadly, within hours of the killings, some less-than-wise people, who claim to be Christians, began to post items on Twitter and Facebook that quoted the Bible, implying that God’s judgment and wrath had been righteously poured out upon the gay community in Orlando.
I say that it is sad because such “Christians” appear to have forgotten what Jesus said to the Jews in Luke 13:1-5:
1 There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (NKJV)
Jesus was talking to “religious” people; people who likely said that those “sinners” in the district of Siloam got what they deserved. Obviously Jesus made it clear that such an assessment was not theirs to make; their assessment was to be of the condition of their own pathetic soul before a holy and righteous God.
I point to this because it appears that Christians seem to forget at times that we are nothing but sinners saved by grace. Do you think that God is any less angry with your lying, adulterous heart, than He is with a lesbian or gay man? If you think He is, then you obviously have not learned from the Word of God as much as you pretend.
God makes it very clear that sin is sin, no matter who commits it. God is also very clear that judgment begins with the family of God. (1 Peter 4:17) Certainly God will judge the unbelieving world, but I hope that we would pause in our expectation of special treatment when we realize that all sin is offensive to God, and that He is no respecter of persons, and that His judgments begin with us.
How many adulterers attend worship in a Christian church every week? How many liars sing praises to Jesus every Sunday morning? How many people consider themselves as righteous, while despising the homosexual or pornographic addict whom God not only loves, but sent His Son to die for? They are precious to Him, and they should be to us as well.
God so loved the world that He sent His Son. He didn’t just love those who would eventually put their faith in Jesus; He loves every single person on the face of this earth. And when people die who have not accepted Jesus, God takes no pleasure in their deaths. (Ezekiel 33:11) God says again and again in the Bible that He takes no pleasure in the death of an unbeliever, no matter how wicked they might be.
In addition, you who claim to be a follower of Christ, you are told to imitate Jesus. Where is your compassion toward those who perished at the hands of a maniacal murderer? Where is your compassion toward the friends and families who loved all those men and women? Jesus had compassion on your pathetic soul; how can you not have compassion toward others who woke up Saturday morning, not realizing they would not see the sun rise on Sunday?
Is God pleased with those who embrace homosexuality? Of course not! But neither is God pleased with hard-hearted hypocrites who consider themselves superior in any way to those who are currently in rebellion to the Word and ways of God.
Certainly, we must call people to faith in Christ. Certainly we must call people to repent of sin, and to seek to follow Jesus in a way of obedience to the Word of God. But as God tells us in Ecclesiastes 3, there is a time and place for everything, and following such a tragedy, it is a time for compassion and kindness. It is time for reaching out and embracing anyone and everyone whose heart has been broken by this unconscionable atrocity.
You who presume to know that this is an event of God, and not the action of a hate-filled mind, you know nothing at all. You are arrogant to presume that you know what God is up to. If you are a Christian, instead of engaging in meaningless speculation of things that are beyond you, you should seek to bring the light and love of Christ into a dark and angry community. Instead of adding to the hate and division that Satan loves, you should be sharing the love and compassion that God desires of you.
There will be a time for speaking directly to the hearts of those in rebellion to God, but now is the time for comforting the hearts that have been shattered.
If you are a Christian, try to act like Jesus. If you’re not going to act like Jesus, please have the decency to not embarrass Jesus or His cause as He strives to call the lost to His heart.
McCartney is pastor of First Baptist Church of Tooele.