By now you have no doubt heard about the tragedy in a church in Texas. Today my heart aches for all those involved. My heart also aches for our country. No doubt by the time this post is published social media, and probably the main stream, will be flooded with people arguing over what the right answer is for this problem. Many will be arguing over WHAT the problem. Many others will argue over WHO is to blame. Ultimately, the problem is what the Bible calls sin.
"Lost people do lost things"
This is something a man I really look up to likes to say. What he's talking about is people that don't know and follow Jesus. This is not a popular statement, but the Bible tells us that events such as this are a result of a broken relationship with God. Jesus came and gave his life to repair this relationship, for those that will accept the gift.
Not perfect, just forgiven
Many who read this might be quick to point out that people who claim to follow Jesus are often guilty of terrible things. They will point out the many atrocities that have been done in the name of Jesus. And, they are right. Many people have done unbelievably terrible things and blamed Jesus for them. People claim to be followers of Jesus, but then treat people in the most hateful ways.
Jesus was once asked what was the greatest commandment. The person asking was an expert in Jewish law. He was referring to the more than 600 laws that Jews were expected to follow. They were trying to trip Jesus up. To fool Him into saying something to incriminate Himself. He responded "Love the Lord you God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your soul." Jesus said that THIS was the greatest commandment. But, He didn't end there...
Love Your Neighbor
Jesus went on to say, "Love your neighbor as yourself." He later is asked who our neighbor is and He tells a story commonly referred to as the "Good Samaritan". In this Jesus shows that everyone is our neighbor. It's not simply the person that lives next to us, or even in our city. Jesus teaches that every person is our neighbor and we should love them.
What's Love Got to Do With it?
1 John 3:17 says, "Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action." Jesus said that we should love our neighbor. He then told us that EVERYONE is our neighbor. Here we learn that love requires action. Clearly the various acts of violence that have been perpetrated in the name of Jesus do not match up with His teachings. Clearly when people claim Christ, but treat people badly, they are not following the teachings of Jesus.
So, I leave you with a question.
How can someone claim to follow Jesus and commit the sorts of acts we have seen, except that they don't TRULY know Jesus.