The recent events in Florida and the copycat actions and threats have sparked a rallying cry for change, maintaining of our laws and the constitution, and proclamation that this may have happened because we have kept God out of our schools (as if the omnipresent God we serve can be kept at bay by mortar and stone). But dare I suggest that these actions of evil could have been stopped by choosing to engage with those who are hurt, lost and forgotten rather than choosing to attack and lament? Perhaps if we engaged with and stood for truth, love, and justice then things would be different.
In times of severe pain, doubt, and angst we turn to acting out and defending our actions. We rally, we demand action, we rebuttal and oppose, we decry evil but also attack our fellow man. But what if instead of posting inflammatory propaganda and seeking to justify our own views we decided to make a difference from the beginning by being Jesus to the world as He has called us to be?
The truth of the matter is that churches and church goers have long stood silent as they witnessed atrocities unfold in the world until it directly affected them. Instead what we should be doing is standing as the purveyors of the Gospel to the world and not just our select few. If we decided to proactively engage as Christ has called us to instead of pretending that the world at large does not deserve us because they are removing God from the country, perhaps just perhaps we would see the change we so long for.
Christ himself proclaimed that he did not come for the healthy or perfect but for the sick, destitute, forgotten, and hurting. When we choose to attack and malign we do nothing for those who are hurting, but instead cause more derision and division. Instead we should be seeking to act before, during, and after the evil actions that persist in our world.
In a world and culture that loves division it is so easy for us to fall into that methodology that demands we choose a side, a political party, a decision. I am not suggesting that we exist in the middle, but instead presenting the notion that rather than lament or stand idly by we should be moved to action.
One only has to examine the evidence and backstory of the student attacker in Florida and others like him to realize that there is extreme brokenness in his and others' stories. There exists pain, brokenness, evil, and hatred in this world, but we as Christ followers are called to be beacons of light to this world and not simply in moments of horrific pain and violence but in all times: good, bad, and indifferent.
My friends, do not give into derision but instead look to create harmony and care for those who are hurting. May we be the ambassadors of Christ to the world, and through the care and hope we showcase may we forever be the beacon of salvation. Through our engagement may we be the tangible aspect of the Gospel to the world. Through our care, love, and grace in truth, may we be what helps to bring change to this country and the world.