50 people died today. That’s the beginning, middle, and end of that statement. Not 50 tall people, 50 skinny people, 50 fat people, 50 tall people, 50 short people, 50 gay people, 50 straight people, 50 ugly people, 50 gorgeous people. Just – 50 people.
And that is not okay. My heart breaks for those people who lost their lives. It breaks for those who love them and have to mourn their loss. It breaks for those who tried to save them and could not. It breaks for the city that is forever changed.
My heart breaks because 50 people died. And that never needs to have a qualifier.
I could search a dictionary and a thesaurus. I could read powerful speeches. I could gather together all the words ever used and they wouldn’t be enough. This is no longer political. No longer about religion, or race, or persuasion. No longer just sad.
No longer something we can look at, pray for, and feel relieved that it isn’t our community. This is an epidemic. It’s not a debate about gun control – though I get that it seems that way.
This is a culture of fear, anger, and mental illness. People are scared, and hurting, and sick. I don’t know all the answers. What I want is for every single person to try to walk this journey better. Walk it with people. Love people more. Know people more. Recognize that treating mental illness may be the key to solving so much of this tragedy.
What I, and everyone of us can do, is to try and love like Jesus. Seek out those who are lonely and hurting and meet their need. Talk to them and then listen. Bring dinner. Fight for them when they are drowning. Care enough to put other’s needs before our own.
We can use some common sense when it comes to how we vote, what we fight for, and how we go about fighting that fight. We are in trouble folks. But fear and anger, while the most legitimate responses to the tragedy in Orlando, are not what is going to change our culture. Hating other people because they disagree with you on gun control, gay rights, or Target bathrooms, isn’t going to help either.
There are so many changes we need to make. I don’t know them all.
We are seeing the results of our division, our anger, our refusal to sit at the table and have a rational conversation. What I do know that it means I have to do more to treat the people I come into contact with the way Jesus would. That instead of just praying for Orlando, I have to make some changes in how I think, act, and speak.
Jesus, be near. Near to these families and comfort them. Near to this world and give us wisdom and strength and desire to treat each other like You would treat us. In Your name I pray.