But You Can’t Shoot Them

family-1432936_960_720Like most, my mind has been whirling with emotions, ranging from heart-break to anger and every emotion in between, over the violent mass shooting that took place earlier this week at Pulse, a LGBT+ nightclub in Orlando, Florida. 50 lives were brutally and prematurely ended while an additional 50-plus were tragically wounded, causing an uproar over issues of gun control and our constitutional rights, in addition to an outpouring of support for the victims’ friends and family members. I have always loved seeing our nation– and world beyond– rally in the face of tragedy. It reveals there is still good in the world. And as much as I relish in bringing together community, wide-ranging in races, religions, sexual orientation, etc., I fear this support from fundamentalist Christians will wane and judgment of the LGBT+ lifestyle will resume.

No one wishes violence like open fire or hostile, hate-filled physical vengeance on others, but somehow we turn a blind-eye to snide remarks, jokes, boycotting businesses that support LGBT+, or even physically distancing oneself from this community in any means possible (I personally know someone who won’t get into the same car with an openly gay person). Instead, florists, caterers, and other businesses who refuse service to those in this community are applauded. Obviously, these prejudices are not tied to physical damage, but more so to emotional damage. And as Christians, we seem to be OK with that. Even if we are not engaging in this mistreatment, we also are not taking a stand in support of our brothers and sisters. It’s this mentality of:
You don’t have to like them, but you can’t shoot them.
You don’t have to serve them, but you can’t shoot them.
You don’t have to support them, but you can’t shoot them.

How big of us to draw the line there.

The problem with drawing the line there is it allows those outside the LBGT+ community to continue to look upon them with contempt, disgust, with suspicious stares—essentially continuing to intentionally oppress them. Without a doubt, this mars the image of Christ—the very characteristics of Him which drew us to Him. I cannot help but to think of 1 John 4:19, which reminds us that “We love because He [Jesus] first loved us”. Gosh! What if He condemned us like we condemn this community? What if He refused to wash our feet, take our burdens, forgive us, die on the cross for us? We did not earn that grace. We cannot earn that grace! Instead, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Can I tell you just how much that means to me?!!!

I can already hear the words of my nay-sayers. “But… being gay is a sin. We have a responsibility to call them out”. Ahhh, my dear friends, my heart aches over this on-going debate. It is not an “Us vs. Them” issue. It’s not about turning a blind eye or watering down the Word of God. On the contrary!

The Word of God needs to be lived and breathed and shouted—and remembered! God’s Word is a message of Love, not hate; not judgement—but gosh—I’m not sure the world, primarily this community, knows that.love one another

I’ve wondered as a Christ-follower, if I’ve missed the fine print somewhere—you know that seemingly unspoken expectation that we’ll band together to “love the sinner, but hate the sin”, which for the majority of people I know looks a lot like drawing the line at physical violence, not at hateful words, actions, or inaction. Does that fine print also caution us against showing this community love; that they have value, and purpose; that they are just as loved, accepted, and forgiven by Christ as we are? Though I am generalizing, I have to ask, how does the church–people desiring to imitate the character of Christ; desiring to live to a higher purpose/calling– justify this behavior?

Sure, we show love when someone has been shot and killed, but can we show love and compassion in the day to day activities? What the hell is the difference? I wonder what Christ would have done?

This is not merely a Christian issue, it’s a people issue.

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14 thoughts on “But You Can’t Shoot Them

  1. ::applause::

    Human beings are not called to wage war against sin outside of the ones we ourselves are tempted to commit. I honestly do not know how this ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ nonsense got started. It’s not Biblical! It’s purely egocentric and spiteful. Not compassionate. Not of Christ. The Gospels portray Jesus spending the bulk of his time in vocal opposition to the moral, spiritual leaders of His day. He didn’t sit there and castigate sinners for being sinners! No where does He do that!
    So, why do we think we have that right to proselytize our own ideas of morality?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It absolutely slays me! My husband and I grew up in very conservative, legalistic homes and initially brought into our marriage those ideas and ways of thinking/living. As we have *actually* read the Bible and not had ideas spoon-fed to us, we have sat here countless times, scratching our heads over how the model of church/Christianity hardly resembles what we read in the Word. We have two girls whom I pray we are painting a more accurate picture of Christ and how we are to live for Him in this world—with all its variations. It’s a challenge and yet so freeing—hard to explain—but, maybe you understand what I’m talking about because of your own background!
      Thanks for the *applause*!!!! I felt I would get more backlash from this post than I have!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said Karen. Franklin Graham has sent a response team out to Orlando. The violence in this world will continue until Jesus sends Satan to Hell forever.

    Like

  3. This means a great deal to me, I was faced with this in the early 80’s during the AIDS epidemic while all my clientele was dying. I couldn’t stand apart from the community like “well this isn’t about me!” I prayed a lot and lived in a ton of fear about this for quite a while. After a horrible day with very sick client, I prayed and I heard God say very clearly into my being… My only job is to love! That’s it! The judgement wasn’t my job! It opened my heart! I have wonderful friends that enrich my life and make it more interesting.
    Great article! Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have to say that on all our walks and our talks, where you’d share stories of some of your clients and about your forever friends Bobby and Stresso (sp?), you have played an intricate role in my life in this area. My eyes were open when we met all those years ago, but you helped me to take the sunglasses off—if that makes sense. Essentially, you gave me clarity. I am forever indebted you to for a million reasons—this being one of them! Love you, Susan!!!!

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  4. Thank you for pointing out the words in 1 John, “We love because God first loved us,” within the context of this mass hate crime. May the fifty fallen, including the man who caused their falls, and everyone mourning their loved ones and/or the state of humanity; may they all meet the source of Love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right, lots to say. I had much more written on this and although it addressed the issue to a deeper level, I feared it would overwhelm and take away from my primary point, which is to show love to all people. I didn’t want to address the issue of guns or sin or anything else in this post—they’re big–and important, certainly, but building the foundation of love—starting there—seemed the bigger issue! It is all about Jesus.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well done and certainly on point. (As always!) The world will know we are Believers not because we are anti-Gay (we are not) but because we love one another. Jesus addressed the poor, the marginalized and the outcast. Ought we to be about the same?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhh, my Father-in-Law reading my blog!!!! What a treat—a gift to see your name cross my screen! (Smiling from ear to ear)

      Thank you for your kind words—you’re always the encourager!

      I thought of you as I wrote this post. I was curious about your experience– as a Pastor for over 40 years—if you’ve seen a shift in the Christian’s mind-set/actions regarding this issue? Have you preached differently, taken a different approach to this subject from the pulpit? Have you received backlash for your Biblical point-of-view—it certainly is not conservative/conventional in the church—(maybe in your denomination?). Just curious. It is interesting to hear/read the perspective of Christians—all who claim to read the same scriptures in God’s Word and how that plays out in their day-to-day.

      Lots of love you!!!!
      K

      Like

  6. Karen,
    You are so right on with this, (I know a few very nice and talented gay people )and while I don’t agree with the lifestyle and know God doesn’t condone it, Jesus himself said to love others and draw them to him. By doing that and reaching out to them and bringing them to the Lord, they should on their own come to see the error in their ways when they begin to read the word, and turn from it and be forgiven and therfore escape the coming judgement. For God loves us all and does not desire that any should be lost. Forn we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and it is only through asking forgiveness and accepting Jesus Christ that any can be saved.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Go outside. Let the world in. | From guestwriters

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