Weeping With Those Who Weep
Last week a young homosexual Muslim man pledged his alliance to the Islamic state and begin to murder as many people as he could in a gay night club that he frequented. In the hours before the police stopped him (one officer taking a bullet to to the front of his kevlar helmet), he callously killed 49 people, and wounded more than 50,
The Christian response should be obvious: sorrow over the loss of life and compassion for the loved ones of the victim. As Paul clearly instructed, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Rom. 12:15).
Yet some believers are hindered from doing this because the sins of the victims are clearly known. Are we hindered from grief because alcohol, drugs or some other wrong preceded an untimely death? But what did God say? “I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live.”” (Ezek. 18:12, also Ezek. 18:23; 33:11) God is not pleased with their deaths, nor the death of any sinner. Would He have been pleased with our death before the time of our repentance? The average age of those who died was 29, the youngest just 18. How many who are saints today were fully ready for judgment at those young ages?
Others are hindered in sharing their grief by charges of hypocrisy leveled by those using this tragedy and the sympathy rightly flowing from it for political gain. Christians cannot and do not celebrate the lifestyle of those who were terribly murdered. We do not take pride it in or anything associated with it (Eph. 5:11). But not celebrating and encouraging a sinful life is not a hinderance mourning a tragic passing, or in this cases, scores of them. Our understanding of the spiritual component of this should make the tragedy sting all the more, not be a reason for caring less.
Whenever there is a tragic lose of life we are reminded of Jesus’ reaction to multi-death tragedies and atrocities in His day:
“Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And He answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered this fate? “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. “Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1-5)
When tragedies cause souls to perish, Jesus warned that considering how the victims might or might not morally compare to others is pointless. What mattered was each person realizing their own sin and the need of humility and repentance before God.
It is also a reminder to us of the need to pray.
“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:1-4)
We need to pray those around the world withfor quiet and tranquil lives. We could all use more quietness and tranquility as we, like God, desire the salvation of all..