By Guy Hammond
The world has gone mad. When police stormed the Pulse Nightclub in the early hours of June 12 in Orlando, they found half eaten sandwiches, half empty glasses of drinks that people had been enjoying, bills that were about to be paid, and 49 bodies on the ground. As I said, the world has gone mad.
This is not a political post. As a Canadian watching these horrific events from north of the 49th parallel, I wouldn’t dare attempt to wade into the bizarre world of American politics and the myriad political arguments that surround this heartbreaking episode; the second amendment, American immigration policy, the “wall” that Mexico will pay for, profiling and the like. Good luck with all that. So this is not a political post. This is a Christian post.
Obviously, a huge part of this story is that this atrocity occurred in a gay bar. This fact has left the gay community reeling. As a disciple who lived the life of a gay man for over a decade, who is still homosexually attracted, even after 30 years of leaving that life behind forever, and is the founder of an organization that brings hope to same-sex attracted Christians around the world, I believe I’m in somewhat of a unique position to speak to this particular slaughter.
Be careful where you point
Incredibly, I have actually heard some who call themselves “Christian”, both online and on television, say that those who were killed were receiving their due punishment for participating in homosexuality. This abhorrent viewpoint comes from people who are not ambassadors of the Jesus I know. Of course, most Christians are horrified by these events and would never consider such a thing.
It doesn’t matter that people were murdered in a gay bar, a school, a movie theater or at an office party in San Bernardino. This was not biblical punishment from God on the gay community; this was an evil psycho with a gun. Romans 3:23 tells us that we have all fallen short of the glory of God. In God’s economy, not one person is better than anyone else based on their actions. We’re all a mess. The only claim to fame for the Christian is that they have been forgiven, and even that was a gift and has nothing to do with anything anyone achieved on their own merit.
Besides, if you are going to argue that these people in a gay bar were killed or wounded as punishement from God for being involved in homosexuality, does not consistency demand that we use the same argument for all mass shootings? What then of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut where 20 school children were killed, or of the terrible church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina? What were these people being punished for?
I am reminded of the story of Jesus in Luke 13:1-5 when he was told of the death of those at the hands of Pilate and of a tower that collapsed crushing 18 people underneath it in Jerusalem. Jesus told his hearers (and us) to not point fingers and self righteously judge others for their demise, but rather focus on our own repentance.
To those of you who are gay, same-sex attracted, or the parent or sibling of someone who is, I’m sorry if you’ve had to listen to that kind of rhetoric from the mouths of those who claim to be followers of Christ.
The Christian’s first reaction to the murder of 49 fellow human beings and those injured, no matter where the carnage took place, can only be that of shock and sadness. This is a time of grieving, period. We need to mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep.
Do what you can.
If you live in the Orlando area, you can give blood or go to a community vigil or one of the 49 funerals that are about to take place to stand side by side and in solidarity with those in the gay community and families who are experiencing unspeakable pain.
Most reading this do not live in the Orlando area. What can you do? You can give financially to one of the charities created to help victim’s families. And of course, the one thing we all can definitely do is pray.
- Pray for peace,
- Pray for there to be no vigilantism against people in the Muslim community, the majority of whom are equally repulsed and saddened by Sunday’s events.
- And pray for homosexuals and heterosexuals in our communities, that this event would soften hearts, allowing people to see how brief life is and that they should take advantage of whatever time they have left to take care of their spiritual wellbeing.
Christians need to have their hearts broken over the fact that there are an estimated 245 million gay people in the world today who do not yet know Christ. We need to be praying for the Lord to open hearts so that the church can have significant impact with these men and women so that they too, can experience the life-changing benefits of being covered by the blood of Jesus.
Preach unapologetically with love and respect.
Just as there are “Christian” loons out there who will spew the kind of ridiculousness I’ve mentioned above, there will be fanatical Gay Rights advocates who will use the Orlando massacre to attack Christians for holding to and preaching the Biblical sexual ethic. Scripture is clear, sexual intimacy is to be reserved between that of man and woman, bound together only in marriage, and that anything beyond that boundary is not representative of God’s plan for human sexuality, which would obviously include homosexual activity.
This message needs to be taught in a straightforward, unapologetic manner that is also compassionate and respectful. Let us be radically honest with the truth, and let us radically love at the same time. Anyone who has heard me teach, or has read my books or browsed the many articles on the Strength in Weakness website (strengthinweakness.org) will know that I believe it is necessary to teach biblical truth in a manner that exudes the love and compassion of Christ. We must give people the time and space they need to hear the gospel message, ask questions and allow the Holy Spirit time to work and maneuver through their hearts to bring about conviction. Ultimately, we need to respect the God-given right of people to choose to live however they desire, whether the Christian agrees with it or not, and not to sit in judgment on them for it (1 Corinthians 5:12).
In this mad world in which we live, that’s what I believe we, as Christians should be doing right now. At least that’s the viewpoint of a homosexually attracted, Canadian Christian.