One of the advantages to not having cable or regular television is that I don’t have a single news channel. (To be completely honest, I seldom watched the news when I had access to it because it was generally depressing and made me feel small and powerless. )
Unfortunately, my not watching the news doesn’t mean that horrible things don’t still happen in the world or that I get to just ignore it.
I was saddened when the alert came over my phone to tell me about the shooting that occurred in Orlando on June 12th. My heart broke for the families of those dead and injured and I immediately began praying for them and the family of the shooter before I even read the article.
While the shooting upset me, I was more horrified by what I learned yesterday evening. After the attack, a pastor actually preached in his sermon that the only tragedy that had occurred was that more people weren’t killed in the attack. He called those in the night club perverts and pedophiles.
My first thought when my cousin told me about the sermon was that it must’ve been those Westboro people and I kind of shrugged it off. When he told me it wasn’t them, I didn’t really believe him. So, of course, I asked the Google fairies…
My eyes were so full of tears I couldn’t even read the whole article. Google had confirmed that not only did a pastor in Sacramento preach this hate-filled sermon, but that he continued to defend it and called for the government to murder a large portion of our population.
No matter what your personal beliefs are, that night club was filled with people. They were/are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles… and I believe God loves each and every one of them.
I wish this was just an isolated incident, but there seems to be so much hate growing in the hearts of people. It’s beyond my understanding and I struggle to control the anger that it ignites in me, but I refuse to let it get the better of me or harden my heart against humanity.
Some of the worst moments of my life ended up bringing me some of my biggest blessings. That wouldn’t have been possible had I let my rage and hatred continue to fester and take over my thoughts and actions. It would have tainted everything.
In the same way, if I let the words and actions of those who have chosen to let their hatred rule them affect the way that I look at the world, I would do a disservice to myself and everyone around me. I can’t help but wonder, how disappointed would the God I claim to love be with me then?
Instead, I choose to not only continue to pray for those who are persecuted against, but for their persecutors. May God soften and change their hearts. And I ask that others join me in consciously fighting against the instinct to hate the hateful and instead, show love to those we feel are undeserving of it.
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