Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique useful in many emergencies, including heart attack or near drowning, in which someone’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped. Our country has, once again, been devastated with a collective heart-stopping reminder that we live in a fallen, corrupt world. Evil is not a figment of our over exercised, religious imaginations but an ever-present reality. How then should we respond?
People, made in the image of God, were heartlessly slaughtered. Men and women, fellow Americans from many varied backgrounds were violently ushered into eternity by an impulse of pure evil. Oh, how the Body of Christ must grieve over this despicable act. God forbid there be one moment of self-righteous piety that gives anyone of us the notion that these precious lost souls were any more deserving then we of such treatment. Remember what Jesus said in Luke 13:1-5, “There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” We are ALL sinners in dire need of the grace of God!
Those, who not only perished, but have survived this horrific episode need our love and compassion. I heard of an act of true comfort and care one man expressed. He saw a victim stumbling out of the club with wounds on his extremities. As he started to help the man bind up these injuries he noticed a very serious bullet hole in his back. He rushed him to a police officer who put them both in the back of a truck and requested this ‘Good Samaritan’ to place pressure on the man’s back to slow the bleeding. The comforter wrapped his arms around the man tightly all the way to the hospital. The doctors believe he saved the man’s life. I had to fight back tears when I heard how abandoned this man was to the survival of his fellow human being who was, just moments ago, a stranger. This is the compassionate heart that the church must express.
I asked myself this question, “If I had rushed into that club to help during the shooting would I have been willing to step in front of a bullet to save a stranger who, a day earlier, might have branded me a bigoted homophobe because I believe marriage is between a man and a woman?” Such a situation would give new meaning to wearing some cheap bookstore novelty WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) bracelet. My selfishness would most likely cause me to shrink from such sacrifice but I pray that the power of God’s grace would help me to respond otherwise.
The parents, loved ones and friends of the deceased need to be lifted up in prayer meetings, in personal devotions, and quiet, prayerful visits from loving church members. Prayer and fasting need to be the order of the day to bring healing for hurting hearts. And yes, pray for the LORD to bring doors of opportunities to share the Gospel of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. Pray that we walk in wisdom toward those without Christ and to speak gracious words seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:2-6). We must be gentle and apt to teach those who oppose themselves and pray that God would let them see the truth (2 Timothy 2:23-25).
Spiritual warfare is a reality and Satan is a powerful being (Ephesians 6:10-19). He is proud (Isaiah 14:12-17); He is a prince of in the evil world system (John 12:31) and god of this world who blinds people of the truth (2Corinthians 4:4). He has the power of the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14). He brings division, destruction and death (Romans 5:12). He roams this earth seeking to deceive and devour people (1 Peter 5:8-9). This is the true enemy who is blinding those who are filled with hate and murderous intentions. Ultimately, Islamic people are Satan’s victims as well and need to be set free. Satan only fears God and we can only defeat Him in the power of prayer and the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17-18).
Many have repeatedly been given humanistic false hope that man can usher in some type of Utopian society. In 1516 the English statesman Sir Thomas More published a book that compared the condition of his England to that of a perfect and imaginary country, Utopia. Everything that was wrong in England was perfect in Utopia. More was trying to show how people could live together in peace and happiness if they only did what he thought was right. But the name he gave his imaginary country showed that he did not really believe perfection could ever be reached. Utopia means, literally, “no place,” since it was formed from the Greek ou, meaning “no, not,” and topos, “place.” Since More’s time, utopia has come to mean a place of ideal perfection that never can truly be obtained. The clear teaching of Scripture is that all mankind is depraved by sin which will continue to produce frustrated and unfilled attempts to produce a perfect society or kingdom. Only in Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom of imagination could such a place exist and, sadly, June 12 that kingdom was violated and tainted as every other earthly kingdom man has ever built. The Church must pray that people will turn to Jesus Christ Whose Kingdom alone has been established in the hearts of His people and will one day rule and reign above every earthly kingdom. Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” And the last prayer in the Bible is found in the second to last verse, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
Finally, the Church of Jesus Christ must squarely face our failures to obey our Lord’s great commission. We have too often lived in hypocritical arrogance. In pharisaical fashion we pick and choose what we deem as the ‘really bad sins’ while we wallow in our lukewarm gossip circles and pride-filled ‘safe zones’. Jesus told us to go out to the highways and hedges to compel folks to come into His Kingdom (Luke 14:22-24). However, too often many churches are building their own kingdoms. The church, in some cases, has fallen into the political trap of manipulating people to gain power and to further some worldly agenda. We spent gross amounts of monies on lavish buildings, excessive salaries and so much of our energy seeking the praise and approval of men. And in the meantime, stomachs go empty and souls languish in thirst. My altar boy Latin resounds in my ears “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa” translated “I have sinned through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.” A bit more humbling then today’s, “My Bad” as we pump our chest.
We have been sleep walking but it is high time we awoke to realize there is a real enemy who hates God and wants to destroy people who have been made in His image. Much of the professing church has adopted a playground mentality while Satan has arrayed his forces for the battlefield. My prayer is that these outright attacks will drive us to our knees in repentance. Lord, please raise us up in the power of Your resurrection and the fellowship of Your suffering being fully dependent on You The Lord of Host. “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1Corinthians 15:56-58)