Oh, Orlando, my heart weeps (on guns, gays, terrorism and Islam)

Now that it has been almost 48 hours since the senseless act of terror in Orlando, I thought I might give some thoughts (I have waited out of respect for the victims and their families). First of all, I am horrified at the reaction of some political elites: calling for the removal of firearms or announcing the hatred of Islam. What happened in Orlando was an act of terror and a hate crime. If acts of terror feed on and cause public fear, then is not feeding upon public fear to ask for any further limit on public freedom also an act of terror? Is not feeding on public fear to perpetuate a generality regarding people of a certain religion also such an act?

I am saddened because those who wield the most influence in this nation are the same ones who perpetuate the fear caused by acts of terror in order to themselves perpetrate acts of terror, even if not violent. This is the case any time any entity uses any state of emergency to further a campaign, for this is a platform built on public fear and, therefore, similar to the act of terror committed by the violent terrorist.

It seems to me that any argument made from a political platform ought to be from reason and not latched on to whatever the public currently fears.

Thus, I am encouraged to see so many people saying that this is not a ‘gun thing’ or a ‘gay thing’. It is a hate crime and an act of terror and it is wrong. We should condemn the act and pray for those families. The great reality is, God paid the penalty for their sin so that they might receive forgiveness and be returned to Him, having eternal life. If you are one of those families and you are reading this: My heart is burdened for you. I cannot be the judge of whether or not those in the club on Sunday morning knew Christ and had eternal life. In fact, my spirit weeps because I imagine that many of them might not have, but I cannot know. My question is for you. God loved us in such a way that He paid the penalty for sin despite our sin. Will we then choose to accept Christ, deny ourselves and live for Him? I hope that the answer is “Yes.” For there is far more to life than fulfilling our own pleasures and it is far too fleeting. This was proved on Sunday.

While there are some who will hate, someone with a Biblical faith will love and offer the same forgiveness and restoration that God has offered all people. Sin is sin, but God is a God of restoration and life. My hope is that you will accept that life and that hope.

“For, God did not send His Son into the World to condemn the world but to save the world through Him.” -John 3:17

One last thing about the Muslim’s faith. People of any religion are capable of doing heinous things. It is not a direct result of religion, it is the result of living in a corrupt world that is fallen from God’s perfection. It is a consequence of sinfulness in the world. Not all Muslims will act this way. In saying this, I also realize that both the Biblical worldview and a Muslim worldview cannot both be correct. Either we are left to earn our way, to be good enough that we might hope for eternal life; or eternal life is a gift available to those who trust in the one who paid the penalty for sinfulness (this would be Christ). One worldview demands that faith be put in God and in a person (the human prophet Muhammad) for the mere possibility of receiving eternal life. The other states that God Himself became flesh in order to restore people to Himself. In one, God is dependent on people to make good decisions (Islam), and in the the other God is entirely self-sufficient and does not rely on people to offer the gift of eternal life (Biblical Christianity).

Though this has little to do with the tragedy in Orlando, I feel it necessary to say that my heart breaks for all Muslims because they seem to be trying to earn something that cannot be earned and seem to live as though God actually depends on people while declaring with their mouths that He does not. Even the nation of Islam needs the power and grace of Christ Jesus: the only name by which people can be saved. The good news is that this gift is available to anyone who would believe in Him: despite current worldview, religion, ethnicity, gender or age. The only way to receive eternal life is by accepting it as a gift because it cannot be earned.

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