We are slowly but surely losing our capacity to sympathize with the world. Some say this is because we are being constantly bombarding with the worst news through all media outlets. Even so, it’s hard not to tune in to the acts of violence and terrorism happening abroad, and here in America.
Late into the night on Saturday, June 11th, a 29-year-old man walked into one of the largest nightclubs in Orlando with the intention to kill. Carrying an automatic rifle and a handgun, this man chose to open fire on police and everyday citizens at the end of an event filled with Latin-music and dancing. The deadly exchange of bullets between police and the terrorist resulted in his death, but not before he killed 49 people and injured more than 53. During the attack, the gunman called 911 to publicly announce his allegiance to ISIS.
Hatred consumed him. Hatred drove him to spend three hours in that club with a sole goal of violence and desolation. Hatred stole dozens of lives, even causing him to lose his own in his pursuit. Hatred is a disease, and it is not difficult to catch.
It’s easy to sow seeds of hatred. It all starts with irritation and annoyance. Someone says something that offends you or they might do something you don’t believe in. Instead of letting it roll off your back, you choose to bury your frustration deep into your heart. It isn’t anything big, just a small complaint or a prejudiced slur muttered under your breath. But then it snowballs to rants on Facebook about lifestyle choices and spiritual beliefs. It turns into bashing politicians, leaders, and people groups because they don’t think like you or talk like you. Then you begin to justify yourself because you’re “speaking against sin” or “standing up for your beliefs”. When did pushing others down become a way to stand tall?
Some days I pull up Facebook and wonder when Christians became so bitter. When did we become so mean? I see people posting about how horrible someone is for behaving a certain way or believing in a certain thing, when we complain about people doing the same thing to us. Or worse, we riot over colors of cups. When did our hearts become so deafened to the Gospel?
Jesus is and always will be the answer to every problem and argument. He is light, love, and life. His way is truth. His guidance is genius. His wisdom is wonderful, and inspiring. There are 66 books in the Bible that offer us a picture of every perspective of God. We see Him as just, powerful, omniscient. He transcends time. He builds and destroys Kingdoms. He gives the last word. And He also shows grace and kindness. He spared Lot when he lived a corrupt life. He chose Jacob when he was defiant. He crowned Saul despite his pride. The cross manifested on one destined day, but it appeared throughout time. Mercy is written on every single page. And Jesus is the living, breathing, captivating human form.
Love consumes Him. Love drove Him to spend eternity bridging the gap between life and death. Love saved millions of lives throughout all time. Love is a cure, and it is easy to gain. It starts with sowing seeds of forgiveness. It looks like passing acceptance on people who sin. It sounds like a voice praying in the night and praising in the day. It talks about giving to those who have little and loving those who don’t know true love. Love encapsulates and takes the breath of those who expect hatred, violence, and prejudice.
Love should consume us. Love should be the light that shines out of every single one of our faces. The world is filled with terror, disgust, and hatred – we don’t need any more. We need to read our Word, really study it, and be shaped by it. The words on those pages came from an Almighty God who is returning very, very soon.
Choose to be consumed by love today. Look like Jesus to someone who needs to recognize Him. It could be the beginning of their path to salvation for all eternity.
– Christian Thompson
Featured photo by Victory Missions