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I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you” (1 Cor 5:9-13).
Early Sunday morning, a man entered a club in Orlando and murdered 49 people and injured 53 more before he was himself killed. And there is no excuse for that.
It is no excuse that the club was a gay club, a place that celebrates and enables what we, as Christians, would call a sexually immoral lifestyle. There’s no excuse in that. The Bible tells us “not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality,” that is, people who claim to be Christian and practice sexual immorality (or any other of a list of sins). It doesn’t say to do anything to those who don’t claim to be Christian, other than to love them. And it certainly doesn’t even say to kill or in any way harm the Christian who practices sexual immorality, only not to associate with them.
“But,” you might protest, “That man was Muslim. What does this have to do with me?” The answer is twofold.
First, you have to understand that, in the minds of many—particularly in the minds of most of the LGBT community—there is no difference between Christians and Muslims in this respect. They just see another religious person who thinks they’re a bad person for doing what they do.
It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t represent Christians; he still represents someone who, for a religious reason, believes the gay lifestyle is sinful. We agree on that point, so we are lumped together. In a way, we all represent a sea of potential Omar Mateens to them.
Second, you have some people who claim the name of Christ, false prophets, who declare loudly that it was the judgment of our God on those people. As if they deserved to be gunned down for what they were doing. And in so doing, they give further heed to the first point, blurring the line between Christians and hate in the popular consciousness.
What is the response of Christ to those who are hurting? To those who are lost in sin? Even to those who hate him?
Compassion. Love. He sees their pain. He does not rejoice in it, but weeps for them.
This is what is called for now. You don’t have to say that gay sexual relationships are okay in order to say that murdering people is wrong. You can weep for the murdered and with the families of the victims. It’s what Jesus did.
You can also weep for a man who was caught up in the lies of the devil, who was caught up in hate, and who murdered these people. Yes, Jesus loves and died for His enemies, too. If you cannot mourn Omar Mateen, do you truly love your enemies?
You can also weep for the family of the shooter. They have not just lost a son, but they’ve also had to see the destruction and devastation that he’s caused. They are undoubtedly wondering what they could have done to change things, thinking it’s somehow their fault. And maybe it is, but what’s done is done; they can’t go back and raise him differently. Now they have to live with the knowledge that someone they loved died in a flash of hatred.
You can also weep for the LGBT community as a whole. They all live in fear of such hate crimes. And they have those false prophets I mentioned above, who are telling them that it’s their own fault if someone abuses or murders them. It’s sick. I won’t validate the LGBT lifestyle, but they are people—scared people, and I love them and mourn for them and the fear they live in.
I don’t think there’s much more to say. This whole situation is just awful, and not much can be said about it other than that.
Love your neighbor—all of your neighbors. Have compassion on the wounded, on the murdered, on their families, on their friends. Have compassion on the perpetrator and his family. Pray for them. Love them!