Like most of you, I am grieved about the massacre that happened in Orlando this past Sunday. We are called in God’s word to hate what He hates and to love what He loves; I also believe we are to be grieved by what grieves Him. Here are some of the things related to the Orlando massacre that grieve me, and I believe grieve God too:
· I am deeply grieved that 49 people –all of whom were precious to Jesus who created them and gave His life for them–were unexpectedly and violently killed, souls who may never have received the gift of salvation for which Jesus paid the price and longed for them to receive. I am greatly grieved for those victims who didn’t know Jesus who were killed, because they will spend an eternity in hell separated from Him and all that is good. I am certain that if they could speak to their family and friends now, they would beg them to turn to Jesus and accept the forgiveness He freely offers to all who repent! (See the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke 16:19-31) I pray that God would teach us all to number our days so that we would get a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12) and live for the purpose each one of us was put on the earth: for the pleasure and glory of God. (Isaiah 43:7) I greatly rejoice that many potential victims were spared, and I pray for the full recovery of those who were injured, especially for the salvation of those who don’t know the Lord.
· I grieve for the victims’ families and friends, and for all who mourn the loss of the victims. I grieve realizing they may hold the false notion that has infiltrated our culture that everyone who dies– or ‘good people’ as defined by the world– go to heaven. I pray that if they are not already saved, that they would come to know that the only One Who is truly good is God, and that the only way to heaven is through Jesus who gave His life for all who would put their trust in His work of atonement on the cross. (See Mark 10:18; John 14:6; John 11:25; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9)
· I grieve for the killer Omar Mateen and for all Muslims who have been deceived by Satan into thinking that it is a ‘good work’ to kill ‘kafirs’ (all non-Muslims) and to die as a martyr, and who falsely believe that such actions will lead to their going to Paradise. I pray that all people—including all Muslims– will come to know the love of Jesus, Who rather than wanting us to shed the blood of innocent people or to die a martyrs’ death, willingly shed His own blood on the cross and laid down His life for us, giving the assurance of heaven to all who put their trust in what He did for them. In sharp contrast to the god of the Muslims, the true God does not ask us to kill others; rather, He asks us to love everyone and to pray for our enemies and those who persecute us. (See Matthew 5:43-44; Luke 6:35)
· I grieve that under the guise of ‘tolerance’ and ‘multi-cultural diversity’ many in our nation have become indoctrinated to believe that Islam is a ‘religion of peace’, when in fact it is not, rather, it is a political ideology more than it is a religion. I am grieved Omar Mateen’s action was totally aligned with the teaching of Islam, a belief system that separates people into two groups: Muslims, and ‘kafirs’ (non-Muslims) who are to be annihilated if they do not accept the tenets of Islam. (https://www.politicalislam.com/about/) I am grieved that so many people around the globe, and increasingly so in the United States, are being deceived by what some people– even those in leadership positions in our government and our media—falsely say about Islam. I grieve that some people think—even some ‘professing’ Christians– that the God of the Bible and the god of the Muslims are the same. That is because they are ignorant of Who God really is as revealed through the Bible, and they are also ignorant of the teachings of Islam as stated in the Koran, the Hadith, and the Sunna. I am also grieved that many Christians have been more interested in their own comfort than in the salvation of others and therefore they have failed to carry out the great commission that Jesus entrusted to us, ‘to go and make disciples of all nations’ (Matthew 28:16-20) so that people around the globe, including Muslims, would know the truth that would set them free from falsehoods, and receive the love their hearts long for that can only be found in knowing Jesus. · I am deeply grieved that a pastor who professes to be a Christian proclaimed that it was not a tragedy because the victims deserved to be killed since they were homosexuals, and spewed other vitriolic statements regarding the victims. It is heart breaking because that pastor and anyone else who believes what he stated obviously does not understand the true heart of God and grossly misrepresents Him. Yes, homosexuality is a sin—an abomination to God—and He is grieved that we in America have legalized homosexual marriage and promote and approve of that which He in His wisdom knows is destructive to our good. However, it is a sin—like every other sin– that His blood is able to cover and He gave His life so that ALL people, regardless of their particular sins, could find forgiveness through His atoning work on the cross. I believe Jesus is grieved whenever a person dies who did not come to Him and receive the forgiveness of sin that He offers. The Word tells us in Ezekiel 18:32, “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live.” Yes, I pray that we as a nation would turn from our sin of accepting and promoting homosexuality, but I also pray that we as professing Christians would repent of the sin of pride that has led some to believe that the sin of homosexuality is somehow worse than their own sins against a holy God. We ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and we are ALL desperately in need of the forgiveness of our sins that Jesus purchased for us on the cross. (Romans 3:23)
· I grieve that politicians, the press, and others in the public arena are once again looking to blame someone– or ‘something’, like guns—rather than the perpetrator of the act. I grieve because I know that God will hold each person accountable for his or her sin, and our culture of ‘blame’ is being stirred up and used by Satan to lead people to think that they will be able to get away with their sin by placing the blame for their actions on someone or something else. God’s word is very clear that each of us will reap what we sow, (Galatians 6:7-8) and that each of us will have to stand before the throne of God and give an account of what we have done while we lived on earth. (2nd Corinthians 5:10)
· I am grieved that Satan is not only behind, but is also using all of these violent terrorist acts as another way to instill fear, distrust, and division in our nation as we blame one another for the crisis we are in. I am grieved that our country– that still has as its pledge, ‘one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all’– has become more divided than at any point in my life as a sense of both personal and corporate ‘entitlement’ has swept over our nation and the reality of personal responsibility has seemingly be swept away . I see divisiveness as one of Satan’s tactics to destroy us, the country that for so long was the ‘city on a hill’. Satan knows the truth of God’s word that ‘a house divided against itself cannot stand’. (Mark 3:25) I am grieved that our nation that was founded upon ‘the rule of law’– laws inspired by God and based upon the fundamental liberties that He as Our Creator gave to us and that granted us greater freedoms than any other nation has ever known–is moving rapidly toward ‘lawlessness’ where we will be subject to the rule of whoever wields the most power. I pray that we as a nation will wake up and realize how uniquely blessed we have been to have liberties and laws based upon God’s Word, and we will safeguard the Constitution that our founding fathers sacrificed their reputations, homes, fortunes and very lives in order for us to have, a Constitution and Bill of Rights that has enabled us to enjoy the freedoms that we have taken for granted and are dangerously close to forfeiting.
· Most of all, I am grieved that even many Christians in our nation are looking to political figures to ‘save us’ and fail to grasp the root cause of the increasing violence and terror attacks, as well as our nation’s other grave problems: we have forsaken God. And He is the only One Who can save us! He blesses the nation that trusts in Him and obeys His commands; He brings judgment on the nation that rejects and disobeys Him. (Romans 15:4; 2nd Timothy 3:16; Jeremiah 12:17). We in America have turned our back on God, and He is turning His back on us, for He longs for judgment to cause us to consider our sins, to cry out to Him, and to turn back to Him. Crises are going to increase in number and intensity unless we repent and turn away from the sins our nation has committed against a holy God. I am grieved that many people think that we ‘deserve’ to be blessed by God, even though our nation has defied His commands by: committing idolatry in so many ways, including but not limited to materialism and covetousness, an obsession with entertainment, alcohol and drugs and other forms of ‘self-indulgence’; legalizing abortion that has murdered over 58 million children God created in His image; accepting as normative fornication, adultery, divorce, homosexuality, and various other forms of sexual sins; embracing injustice and corruption in our government; and turning our back on God’s firstborn, Israel, to name just some of our nation’s sins.
We are in a spiritual battle for the souls of those in our nation. Satan has done a great job of getting us to listen to him and to turn on one another; God desires that we turn to Him, repent of our sin, and forgive one another. Only God has the power to deliver us from the muck and mire we have gotten ourselves into!
When we as a nation put our trust in God and realized our dependence upon Him, we were blessed, and we proved the truth of His Word: ‘Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!’ (Psalm 33:12 ESV)
His plea to America today is the same as the one He gave to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament when they too forgot the God Who had been the Source of their blessings: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations…. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin (Ezekiel 14:6; Ezekiel 18:30 ESV) But if any nation will not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 12:17 ESV)
God, Who is merciful and Who even relented in judging wicked Nineveh when that city repented during the days of Jonah, also makes a promise in His Word,’… if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. (Jeremiah 18:8 ESV)
May we who know God and His merciful, compassionate heart of love be found faithful to fervently pray for our nation to repent, to boldly stand for the truth of His Word regardless of the cost, and to share the good news of His love for everyone and His desire that all should repent and be saved!
Written by Julie Van Gorp