I first heard about the Orlando shootings on Sunday morning at church. I tend to go into a cocoon starting on Friday nights to focus on my sermon so I was out of the news loop when it happened. Since then I have spent several days trying to wrap my head around it, and our cultural response to it. I don’t know if there is anything new to add to all of the opinions that have been stated, but because many people have asked this preacher’s opinion on such matters I feel compelled to write.
First, we live in a broken world. Every time there’s a mass shooting, natural disaster, bombing, tragic accident or a simple funeral we should be reminded that this world is not as it should be. I am thoroughly convinced that one of the reasons Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus is because as he sat there at the grave of His friend He couldn’t help but be overwhelmed at the wrongness of this world. This was not how He created it to be. The world that He came to save was so broken that even He, the one who came to save us, was submerged in the tragedy that is our brokenness. Anyone who tries to paint this world with a utopian paintbrush simply isn’t paying attention.
Second, our broken world is filled with broken people. Not one of us is whole. Not one of us is clean. We all have skeletons in our closets and demons we battle every day. Some days we win and some days we lose. If we are to stand out as salt and light in this broken world full of broken people we need to look beyond their brokenness and love the human beneath the cracked facade. This means we may need to hug our LGBT friends who are hurt, scared and angry right now. We might need to tolerate the mess of their lives for a little while in order to show them the love of Christ, and let’s pray that they see His love beyond the mess that is in our own lives. Like I said, none of us is whole, all we can do is point to the One who can repair our lives.
Third, broken people do broken things. Expect some outrage. Not all of it is unwarranted. Expect some finger pointing. Don’t take it personally. Expect people to jump to conclusions, make ludicrous statements, and speak unkind words in fits of fear and rage. And don’t be surprised when some of those unkind words come from the Christian camp. We’re broken too, and sometimes the most broken thing about us is our understanding of grace. In a broken world filled with broken people doing broken things the church has the opportunity to do something truly remarkable: extend grace to the broken. Only God’s community can mend broken lives. We must let our government decide what to do about terrorists and murderers, that’s why God gave the sword to the government. But to the church He gives the needle and thread of Grace and says, “mend the broken.”
Will you? Will you mend those broken in different ways than you? Will you love the unlovable? Will you offer hope to the hopeless? Will you extend God’s offer of grace to the unforgivable? If not, then let me encourage you to look at your own scars; look where God has mended you. You were once unlovable, hopeless, and unforgivable. And if looking at your scars doesn’t do the trick, then look at those of Jesus, the only whole person to ever live. He was broken for you and for me. He was broken that we may be whole.
He was broken to mend the world. And so we go and we mend.
“He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3