To Christians: Why “I stand with Orlando” and why you can too.
It will be very easy to loose the meaning of the heinous evil that occurred at The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. This is perhaps the most polarized symphony of chaos that I have witnessed happen in my lifetime.
A palette of hot-button issues and agendas can be a distraction. For just a moment I’m asking you to look past them with me.
As a minister of the gospel I am a “teaching/preaching pastor.” I take the Word of God very seriously. I recognize that God hates sin. I accept the Scriptures as the revelation of God, His story, His will and His desire for mankind. I believe murder is sin. I believe that sexual immorality is sin (heterosexual immorality AND homosexual immorality). Two important points occur here.
- I believe what the Scriptures have to say about humanity.
- I believe what the Scriptures reveal about God.
In church circles sin is often the focus of discussions. What sins others are doing. Healthy churches confess and discuss sins that exist in the church community life. But more often than not it seems, we end up pointing at sins that “others are guilty of.”
So I want to say explicitly to the Christian that may be reading this…I am not defending the homosexual lifestyle.
What I am asking my Christian brothers and sisters to focus upon.
The night club Pulse identifies itself as a place that defines itself as “a place of love and acceptance for the LGBTQ community.” The LGBTQ community is made of people. People are created in the image of God and God values that image, that stamp, that image He stamped upon us. While I am not defending homosexuality, bisexuality, transgender or the Q, questioning or queer lifestyle identifications as Biblical acceptable, I am explicitly stating that the victims of this violent evil are people, and God has called us to love people.
This community may have a different association than I have, they may have a different world view than I have, they may even be designated by myself or others that have a similar worldview as “enemies” of some type but the Scriptures record the words of Jesus clearly:
43You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even Gentiles do the same?
48Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.
Jesus didn’t come with the message “sin is okay.”Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, He came to save the world from sin. (John 3:16-17). Jesus also came for this reason:
Luke 4:18–19 (ESV)
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
There may be all kinds of ways to “define” oppressed. We may all have different expressions of “liberty” for the oppressed but I am sure of this, Jesus meant something specific. In my studies of the Scriptures I believe he meant “liberty for those that feel like they have been pushed out of receiving God’s favor.” There is far more than one group of “oppressed” people in this world but the LGBTQ would qualify as and oppressed group.
There is a way to love people without agreeing with them. Perhaps one place to start could be with a simple “hello” that didn’t have a look of contempt or disapproval on our face?
People and emotions
Since I have established that the Bible reveals that people are created in the image of God, and that the LGBTQ community is one such community that has received a message that they are “beyond God’s favor.” I want to point to the reality that these people are like us in that they experience the emotions of love, loss, grief, hurt, happiness and care (among all of the other human emotions).
When a human loses a mate whether it be a “platonic” friend or a “lover” there is grief, loss and pain associated with it. Why? Because God created them in His image to experience these types of emotions.
I have known people that have lost pets. When they lose a pet there is grief, loss, pain and separation. (I’m not suggesting those in the LGBTQ community are animals). In these situations we don’t want to hear about how it was “just a dog” or that it was “the dogs fault for being in the middle of the road.” In fact, I’ve seen people get extremely angry because others don’t acknowledge the hurt.
My point, whether you are accepting of the LGBTQ lifestyle or not, it doesn’t make the loss being experienced any less painful.
These are PEOPLE!
The Oppressed and persecuted
I am convinced that this act was an act of persecution. It was an attack upon freedom. Christians (disciples that follow Jesus) are taught to stand up for those that are oppressed, persecuted and marginalized. This attack was an attack upon a group of people that are disliked by an ideology. An ideology that calls people to use violence against “people like them.”
Christians have an obligation to stand up for this group of people. It may not be in acceptance of the lifestyle they live, but it is and obligation to stand up for those who have been attacked.
I stand with Orlando because there were precious lives lost in the attack.
You can stand for them too because they are a group of people that exist and you (Christians) are called to allow them to experience Jesus love as He expresses it through you.
Litchfield Christian Church