We lost family and it hurts. I am deeply saddened by the senseless killing in SC. My heart breaks for the families of those who were killed and for the church who lost prayer warriors. A part of our Church family has been tragically and horribly removed from this world in a heinous and unthinkable way. My mind cannot wrap itself around it and yet it stands as a sobering reminder of how fleeting life is. May the families and church draw courage and strength from the well that is Christ and may they release any bitter feelings to God in forgiveness. I know this won’t be easy, I will be praying for them. May God be glorified in this tragedy and may His manifest Presence be tangibly felt.
I know this isn’t a popular sentiment, but it should be- if we are Christians, it should be -my heart also breaks for the shooter. He is only twenty-one; young, barely old enough to make some of life’s biggest decisions and yet he made a decision that will profoundly affect the rest of his life. And he is not the only one. I am curious as to what drove him to it, what drives others? I know what the motivation in the spiritual is – it’s our common enemy, but what is its manifestation in the natural that has driven the human heart to hate so much as to take another human life? My prayer is that he accepts the forgiveness of Christ and receives salvation in Him. God is rich in mercy and there is no sin so great that He won’t forgive.
If we were to peel the skin off of every human being, the only thing differentiating us from one another would be our anatomical parts and even then we would be only male and female. We have muscle, bone, tendons, ligaments, nerves, internal organs, etc. Beneath the skin, we are the same. It is our uniquely designed outward appearance that makes us different from one another and it is our outward appearance that somehow fuels hatred in the hearts of others. However, we are all human. We laugh, we cry, we feel things deeply, we reproduce and we strive for better lives. This is part of our humanity. It is our signature in this world.
Young children are fearless and friendly. They experience life with zest, wonder and awe. They learn life from the others around them. Prejudice, hatred, and conditional love are learned through the responses of parents, siblings, teachers and other people. It often seems easier to teach someone to hate and focus on the negative than teach the bold courage of love. But we need teachers of love. If we are to truly be the model of Christ, we must extend forgiveness and love in every circumstance and we must teach the children to do the same.
Our young people are under assault. The enemy targets them and feeds them lies the world helps them chew, swallow and digest. Church, we must no longer sit idly by expecting someone else to rise up and fight. It is our duty to fight for our young people, and this fight is best done on our knees and in our homes. Oh Lord, that we would have compassionate and merciful hearts, always responding from a place of love and never reacting from our flesh no matter the wound! That we would teach our children to value people and value life, teach them to see beyond the surface to the potential beneath and to be boldly courageous in loving others.