This morning I awakened to find my wife watching live reporting of a horrific event occurring in Orlando. A shooter had killed and injured a multitude of people in a downtown bar. By the time we got home from church, the numbers had been increased to 50 dead and 53 injured. President Obama described it as an act of terrorism and hate.
We are in shock, totally appalled that someone could be so filled with hate and have so little regard for the value of life that he would senselessly mow down innocent people.
Please understand that what I am about to say does not minimize the horror of this action nor does it belittle the loss that has occurred and its impact on hundreds of families. But after almost 20 years of ministry, listening for hours every week to the terrible, hurtful, hateful ways people treat their spouses, children, friends and acquaintances – individuals literally filled with hate and little regard for the value of life – I truly do believe this:
Before the Cross of Jesus Christ,
you and I are no better than this mass murderer.
Yes, I understand my righteous standing before God through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ. But when the Son of God was hanging on that cross, before He died and was resurrected three days later for the salvation of man – in that dreadful moment, He looked at you, me and this mass murderer – saw no difference between the three of us – and asked His Father to forgive us.
Why no difference? Listen to the words of Jesus:
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:21-22)
I am not condoning the choices and actions of this evil man. But I do want to encourage us to not be hypocritical in our condemnation of him, as if we are somehow better than him because we have not murdered anyone – to do so demeans the significance of the Cross. Until you and I can acknowledge the magnitude of our sin, sin that required Jesus to die, we will continue to overlook our own sin.
“Thank you, Jesus, for dying for that mass murderer’s sins. He really needed your sacrifice. But I’m okay. I only kill with words and attitudes; no one actually ‘dies.’”
God forbid! Jesus told his disciples that one who has been forgiven much, loves much. Be aware of how much He has forgiven, and love much this week!