It has taken me about a week to digest what happened in Orlando. My thought process was somewhat complicated by the unbelievably distasteful comments that I have seen on every form of social media and on many different news outlets.
I was actually still awake when the reports of the shooting began to surface. All of the details had not emerged yet, but like any compassionate human being, I wasn't concerned with the details. I was concerned with the fact that human life had been unfairly taken. I prayed for the victims, the first responders, and the families.
As the specifics of what transpired became known, I experienced a range of emotions. I was angry that some people have no regard for human life. I was angry that our presidential candidates immediately politicized a tragedy. I was unbelievably heartbroken for the son whose last words to his mom were, "I'm going to die." I was angry that people who call themselves Christians were spewing hate. I could go on and on about the emotions that I felt, but the biggest feeling I had was one of compassion.
Our world needs love. I'm not sure how it is beyond comprehension that it is possible to completely disagree with someone and still show them love. How you make someone feel and your actions will show more love than the expression of how you feel about people who are gay and/or the need for gun control. Political and moral standings are irrelevant when a tragedy occurs. Jesus left everyone he met in awe of his far-reaching, incomprehensible, outrageous love. As followers of Christ, THAT is our call.
I got on Twitter this week to see so many retweets that said things like: “Praying is not going to change anything” or “Prayer isn’t enough.” I don't care what anyone says, PRAYER. CHANGES. THINGS. You can sit there and put your hope in the inevitable congressional stalemate or you can put your hope in God. Praying doesn’t take away the need for action, but prayer can be the conduit for change, softened hearts, comforted souls, and a push to move forward.
If there ever was a time to fervently pray, that time is now. I would encourage you to join me in praying for our leadership, the presidential candidates (both sides!), our churches, and our families. As the families of the Orlando victims lay their loved ones to rest in the coming days, pray for a peace that passes all understanding and pray that they experience the love of Jesus in some way.
We make a difference when we love like Jesus loves. Let's make that our goal.