True Evil Triumphs Unsuccessfully

This past Sunday morning, true evil triumphed unsuccessfully. As we received the news of 100+ injured and dead from a nightclub in Orlando, the mourning began. As the day developed, news reports came out that the attack was done by a terrorist and our hearts filled with that old salve of rage from 15 years ago. Do you remember it? Can you feel it coursing through your veins and brains? As churches were packed for the first time in years back in 2001, hatred for Islam and the 9/11 attackers fueled bitterness and rage for many Americans. In the 48 hours since this evil event was done, many find themselves welling up with the same emotions and feelings. Do not be discouraged: True Evil did not win the day, the year, or ever.
 
I have been extremely impressed and saddened by Christians in the last couple days.
 
Christians have properly handled rallying behind the LGBTQ community as they mourn. Both well-known and little-known Christians have correctly denoted that we should mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep. This event has caused years of wall-building to be torn down from between our communities. We are able to show their community that what they have perceived as hate is from our worldview an intense love for their souls. This has been demonstrated in too many ways to write about. Christians, well done! I am reminded about Joseph in Genesis 50.20 quoting to his same brothers that threw him in a well and sold him into slavery years before, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” The intention of this event was evil. Christians responded with grace and mercy and figurative cups of cold water [Matthew 25].
 
Christians have also disappointed me immensely as a result of this tragic event. As my social media feed is filled with the above encouraging news, I cannot overlook the mishandling of the situation toward the Islamic community. Christians, our hearts should break as we read statements like, “We need to bomb them all and be done with them,” or “These are not humans, so they do not deserve to be treated like humans.” Christians, do you not understand Genesis 1:27? These are image bearers of God. Do you really think you have the spiritual right to condemn countless people to a Christ-less eternity and to a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth [Luke 13.28]? What if someone said this about you before you were a Follower of Jesus? What if the early church had this attitude toward Saul [later renamed Paul]?
 
More than this, our battle is not against a culture, sub-culture, or any other group of people. Ephesians 6.12 reminds us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” People are not our enemy. Even if they want to blow us up, shoot us, rape our children, or commit any other kind of extremely evil deed. They are our mission field.
 
Let the Bible be abundantly clear: “Be angry and yet do not sin.” [Ephesians 4.26] Do not think in fleshly ways anymore, because your heart of stone has been removed. Go ahead and double check that Ephesians reference to make sure I am not using it out of context. In fact, go back and read all of Ephesians 4:17-32. Then go ahead and read Mathew 5.44, Matthew 10.22, and John 15.20. Now come back to your statements about the Islamic community. There is clearly a difference between Jesus’ thoughts on the matter and the prevailing thoughts on social media.
 
If you have been around me much when I talk about the Islamic community, there is no doubt that you have heard my oft repeated quip, “Who will be the apostle Paul from Islam for Christ?” When God calls you in the same way he called Ananias, don’t respond with “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem.” [Acts 9.13] Instead, respond as Peter and John did in the face of persecution and possible death in Acts 4.20 “for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Reports are coming in about countless migrants from nations under the rule of Islam forsaking Mohammed and heeding the call from Jesus to “follow Me”.
 
What happened in Orlando is another unsuccessful triumph of true evil. Remember the words of our Saviour in John 10.10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” True evil thought it was winning by the shedding of blood. Yet again, it was unsuccessful because Christians will rally around the LGBTQ community with the hope of Jesus and around the Islamic community with the good news about the one true and living God.
 
-Associate Pastor Daustin