I don’t normally check the news. Not on Sunday mornings anyway. I’m usually swamped at church, running around serving in the children’s area. But this Sunday was different. Something about my friend’s simple status with the hashtag #Orlando just seemed to say “stop and listen” this time.
When I googled it, the results of the Orlando shooting shocked me. I sat in the volunteer break room and quickly scrolled through a few articles trying to get all of the information. I sent a few of these posts to my wife, Lisa. She needed to know about this.
My heart broke. Fifty dead. At least fifty more injured. I felt like puking.
How could this happen? Why did this happen? Who let this happen?
Then I immediately became afraid.
Where else could this happen? When else would this happen?
Hate didn’t die in the Orlando shooting — no, sadly, hate will still continue to breed and spread beyond the Orlando shooting.
For a split second, I considered the thought that this might unify the nation. With the ominous approach of a potentially catastrophic and divisive election year, we as a nation need to come together. But then, I realized something.
People were going to use this tragedy, this purely evil attack, as an agenda to continue spreading hate, division, and derision.
Gun control activists will launch into attacks on the NRA and all those who hang onto their own weapons for dear life.
Christians will launch into attacks on the evils of homosexuality and how the LGBT+ community needs Christ to save themselves.
People everywhere will hold up the flag of the Orlando shooting, donning their agenda-ridden statuses and posts with #PrayForOrlando.
All across the nation, people will take sides based on how their worldview dictates them to do so. Their ideology will bleed through their prayers and posts and conversations.
In an hour when what we need most is to comfort the mourning and pray for God’s love to pour over a community suffering a tragedy, people would rather be right than good.
I cried Sunday morning. I cried standing in my church’s children’s ministry area. I cried at the thought of those fifty souls lost from this world, for the fifty-plus others injured wrongly, for the families who lost loved ones, and for the community of Orlando bearing this persecution.
And, most of all, I cried, knowing that this would not be the end of evil or hatred in this world. Not yet.
Where/when did you hear news of the Orlando shooting? What are your feelings?
* Photo courtesy ryan_mckee, Creative Commons.
I believe I first heard a hint of this tragedy while sitting with friends having lunch. Life in the cyberspace age. Yet I didn’t quite get the horrific details as to the death and injury count until I came into my office space early Sunday afternoon. We have TVs in my work area and the below message read: 50 Dead; 53 Injured in Orlando shooting spree (or to that effect). Reading those words, I experienced just a few emotions in rather quick progression. Questionable shock I guess I felt first like “what just happened?” My heart sank when I came to fully comprehend what I was seeing. More of a disheartening feeling than despair. This was followed by a numb feeling asking myself “what is to become of this world?” I’m scared to think what a world this could be when there is no longer a reverence or sacredness for even the sanctity of human life — any human life.
I saw the news in our side B group. I didn’t know how many it was until I heard it on the radio yesterday morning on the way back from church. When I heard how bad it really was I had a similar reaction. Went looking for information and sadly the only ones that cared to post information were my gay friends and only 2 of my straight friends up so much as “pray for Orlando”. I thought people were gonna come together too. You know the way they’ve put up things about that ridiculous rape case and the gorilla that got shot but nothing. The only ones that came together was the community and I think that saddened me as much a the shooting itself
I heard about it on radio. Details were scarce and the full number of dead and injured were not yet known. It was shocking. I don’t think I could really understand it and the pain and sadness hit me later. I have gay friends and my love for the LGBT community has grown though I don’t agree with their lifestyle. But I think that each one of them deserves respect, compassion and love from Christians. I hope that Christians will take this opportunity to show the love of Christ to every LGBT person they know.
My main prayer has been that local Christian especially would take that opportunity and share Christ’s mercy and power. So, I guess my second emotion was compassion. My first was digest for the self serving agendas that Mike and others have described. Of course, I was tempted and shared some of my own pet agendas as well. But the only agenda to share now is Christ’s.
I live in Orlando 15 minutes away from the tragedy. It’s been crazy, I have some work mates that have friends that were killed.
I do echo some of the fears some others have mentioned on here that some people will use this tragedy to further agendas. Maybe some might even label a group like ours as being equal with terrorism. Things keep getting more uncertain all the time…
I was hoping that this would bring sides together too – at least to a point where we could all stop and mourn the loss of human life and take the time to tell those in our lives that we appreciate and love them. Children, parents, and so many other people were lost and the effects of that will reach far after the time when this tragedy is no longer in the spotlight. I don’t frequently cry because of the news, but something is different about this…I cried. I cried a lot.
Now more than ever, the world needs to experience the love of God through the church – in a way that’s tangible not just theoretical or theological.
Yes, prayers for tangible manifestations of his grace!
I’m just amazed at the division a situation like this creates. I have to ask Jesus for forgiveness for getting in silly discussions and arguments on Facebook with people I disagree with. I can’t imagine what the victims’ families are experiencing.
It’s Sunday a week later and I can’t shake it. I’ve been trying all week to find my bearings in Christ to be something better to those who hate us and each time I crash into something that doesn’t look anything like Jesus. For the first time in my life, I want to own a gun. God forgive me.
Sorry for the pain you’re feeling my friend. All week everyone has been asking me what my thoughts are and I have to many of them to share. I deface felt the same angst of “what will they do to me when they discover I’m gay “(or ssa or whatever) and married to a woman?” At the end of the day we can’t live in fear or revenge. The harder thing is to love them and live confident that God is our protection. Sending big hugs to you Bluzhawk!
I know Jesus didn’t die so that I’d be stuck in this dark place. I’m not too huggable right now, but thanks man.
That’s ok. We all have UNhuggable days I suppose. Just means we need them all the more.
Thanks Jaye. I let my head/heart go to bad places, but that’s on me. There’s times when Jesus’ invite to deny self, take up my cross and follow him is really welcome.
I think I’ll take that hug now.
Over two years after the fact, this is what I still recall about #Orlando:
Christian singer/song-writer Christina Grimmie was also murdered in the same city, only a day before this tragedy took place;
A gay nightclub full of 50 or more fatal shooting victims, and just as many more who were injured;
A hateful Muslim shooter identified as the single mass-shooting perpetrator;
An immediate and genuine out-pooring of love and sympathy from prominent evangelical leaders and the legitimate Christian Community;
The hateful rhetoric of the Southern Poverty Law Center or “SPLC” (a vehemently deceitful, pro-LGBT political organization), after all of these facts were well-known, attempting to dostort and lay the entire blame for this dire tragedy upon the shoulders of those of us who are believers in biblical marriage and followers of Jesus Christ;
And then President, Barack Hussein Obama, using it for his own political agenda regarding homosexual rights, and pushing for more gun-control legislation.
That pretty much sums up the central facts of this ugly tragedy, as I recall them.
I hadn’t expected to find an article on it here, and I’ve not thought of this incident in quite some time. But I find, even today, that it still provokes deep emotion and anger within me to think about it.
Once again, my prayers go out to all of the friends and family of those who were killed… and to the victims who survived as well, knowing that a tragedy like this affects people for entire lifetimes.