Most of us have heard about the latest shooting in America at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Forty-nine people have lost their lives at the hand of a lone, crazed, gunman, claiming some affiliation with the terror network, ISIS, and with many others seriously wounded. What does one say when these acts of evil are perpetrated against ‘law-abiding’ citizens?
Well let me suggest what we shouldn’t be doing or saying first. The last thing anyone should be doing is standing on their ‘soap-box’ claiming the higher moral ground, whether they be Christians or otherwise. Rather, let us weep with those who are weeping. Sure, we don’t condone the lifestyles of many who were killed, yet, they like us, are made in the image of God, and hence we share their grief and bitter loss.
The second thing we shouldn’t do is to say this is part of God’s will and judgment on those who blatantly live a lifestyle that is in direct contradiction of God’s will for our lives. Since when, is God the author of evil? Scripture clearly states He isn’t (James 1:13ff cf 1 John 1:5; 1 Cor 14:33, Gen 1:31). Furthermore, God’s word clearly says, “You shall not murder!” (Exo 20:13). Hence to suggest that this act of evil is God’s will is incorrect and would do an injustice to our loving God, who Scripture reminds us, is love (1 John 4:8). Granted, this event did not happen outside of God’s power and sovereignty, for in Him, all people live and move and have their being, but we may not say it is part of God’s will and immediate judgment against these people for their sin, whether it be their lifestyle or something else. If that were the case, we should all have been dead and buried a long time ago.
A third thing we must try to understand is that God willed to triumph over evil in Christ in such a way that he ordained that evil should exist, even though He is not the author of it. God ordains everything, from beginning to end in His infinite power and wisdom, which includes evil. Evil exists, therefore, primarily in order that God’s glory may be demonstrated in His ultimate victory over it in Christ.
A fourth thing we need to do is to pray that the Lord may use this tragic event to turn people back to Himself. There were forty-nine people who had an unexpected meeting with the Judge of the universe last Sunday evening. Hence we should be praying and doing things in such a way, that people everywhere would come to know Christ as their Saviour (Mat 5:16ff, 1 Pet 2:12).
A fifth thing we can do is be thankful that many Christians are praying for the families of the victims and victim, seeking to find ways to support them during this time of grief. May that be a great witness to all people, not just to people who have hearts of full hate, but also to the ‘good’ person who remains indifferent to Christ.
Finally, let’s remember to give thanks that we have been spared, and that the Lord will continue to protect us and allow us to continue to enjoy the peace we have in this land, to His glory. JZ.
Pastor John Zuidema
Since 1997 Pastor John has been ministering to Churches across Australia and New Zealand.