We in Christ stand with the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community against the horrific act of hate in the brutal, senseless murders of at least 50 people. We grieve their loss as ours, as well. And we stand with our Muslim sisters and brothers against such violence, as well as the thought of any retaliation against them, which would be equally as senseless and evil. These are all God’s children, created in God’s image, lives which are sacred and beloved.
Any denigration or targetting of any group we condemn. Hate has no place in our hearts as humans, and this is emphasized to us as followers of Christ. The only hatred we can have is against evil, expressed in anger, which as someone else aptly said must morph into grief and lament before the crucified God.
Hate and evil go on in this world, and socieities must take strong stands against even language and corresponding acts which marginalize groups, and make groups of humans to be the others as in not part of us. No, all of these people are part of us, even when we may not share the same faith or moral understandings. We must not think that everyone has to agree across the board on everything, and there are especially some things we guard as sacred. Not only “the right to life” for the unborn, which ought to be a given, but the right to living according to one’s faith and upbringing, or with no religion at all. There has to be room in good and just societies for the differences among us. A nationalism which invokes some superior way of being human along ethnic or religious grounds is to be repudiated and condemned.
As Christians we know that it is the gospel, the good news in Jesus which is the game changer, and nothing less. In that good news is the eventual promise of judgment in rooting out all of the evil of this world, and righting every wrong. We don’t know how God can settle the score on so many things. And we grieve and lament over those who could be so deceived as to take part in such pure, unmitigated evil. Wanting justice to come, but also mercy- both.
But we don’t flag in our hope grounded in the promises of God in Christ, that someday violence will be no more, and true justice in the shalom/peace of God’s kingdom will bring in the fullness of what we as humans can hardly dream of, but which is present now in its rudimentary, beginning form in and through Jesus by the gospel in the church. We don’t lose hope, realizing that the warfare we face as those in Christ is not a physical warfare, but a spiritual one (Ephesians 6:10-20). And so we pray against evil, and for the penetration of the saving gospel to overturn and destroy strongholds of Satan, bent on the destruction of others.
And we speak out for just and good laws. The banning of assault weapons, which have no use in a good society, good only for mass killings, ought to be high on the political agenda here in the United States. We must beware of a trust in guns to save us from evil, which is unthinkable for the follower of Christ, and is not wise in any society of this world. Unless we want to go back to the days when for example politicians in the United States used to settle disputes through gun duels which could end in the death of one or the other.
We pray for our enemies, and we pray for God’s kingdom to come, and will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. As we grieve and lament, and pray for and help those who are victimized in the latest act of evil.