Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Jesus Weeping for Orlando

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. -Matthew 23:13

I wished you the best of
All this world could give
And I told you when you left me
There's nothing to forgive
But I always thought you'd come back...

-Timothy Lee McKenzie

You can become so accustomed to things that they no longer shock or surprise you anymore. You develop a certain tolerance for things happening because you just accept that these things happen whether you want them to happen or not and move on with life, believing that you are powerless to affect the outcome. Your reaction, acceptance, denial, frustration or emotional connection or disconnection does nothing to change the events.

Anyone that has been living in the United States of America for the past decade or more and has been paying attention to major news events is not shocked by Orlando. 50 dead, over 50 injured. A mass shooting, an act of terror. We are not shocked and yet we are because of the enormous scale of this. So many dead.

What is one to say to this? What can we say that has not already been said? Either on the screen, in print, or in households, coffee shops or in offices across the country? I approach this from a Christian perspective, my own and no one else's, I speak for no one else as I find that to be safest, so a few things to think on with this tragedy:

1) Don't make assumptions---you don't know as much as you think you know, I certainly don't. Most of us don't have all the information available. It's generally better to wait until the full story develops and it's definitely better not to make connections that aren't there. This happened and therefore, we should do this or we should stop this or implement this because this was said. Stop, just stop. A tragedy occurred. Repeat that last sentence. Stop there. That's enough.

2) Don't give trite, simplistic answers---simple answers are only correct when you have simple scenarios with simple questions involved. This is not a simple situation, there are no simple questions being posed here. Let's not pretend that soundbite answers will suffice, they won't.

3) Don't pretend to understand things just because you love Jesus---listen, I love Jesus, I place my faith in Him. That doesn't mean I understand why things happen. Oh. I could give you a scripture or a Christian platitude but that doesn't fully explain everything does it? Sometimes the best answer is, “I don't know”. I'm much more at ease with that answer when things like this happen because it's the truth. When someone gives overly detailed answers to something like this, I start to squint my eyes and tune them out. I become suspicious.

4) Use this tragedy as an opportunity to point others to the compassion of Jesus---how does Jesus feel about this? Oh, I think He weeps. Any other answer is a lie. You don't rejoice in evil, you weep for it and Jesus does too.  If you think He finds joy in it, well...that's a whole different post and I'll leave it alone for now.

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