Waking up this morning to the new report of a gunman murdering 12 at a California bar was like a punch in the stomach or rather, another punch in the stomach. Just last week a gunman opened fire on a yoga class in Florida, killing two.
I have to be honest that my initial, visceral response is to retreat, to wrap my family and me up, keeping within my community of friends and the family of Jesus. There’s a part of me that finds it hard to emotionally process the frequent shootings anymore—they’re so frequent that each new one is in danger of becoming just the “next one.”
But I’ve got to shake it off—and so do you. I’ve got to shake off fear and apathy. I have to remember that Jesus told us we are the light of the world—his light. (Matt. 5:14). I am his ambassador (2 Cor. 5:20). Perhaps most importantly, I have to believe that the Spirit in me is greater than the spirit who is influencing the world and those who’ve not yet received the love of Jesus (1 John 4:4, Eph. 2:2).
In Christ, you and I are completely safe—completely. Jesus is the answer and he lives in us who follow him, empowering us. We have to engage people where they are. We have to love them, bear with them. In doing so, we reveal the good news that Jesus has done everything needed to bring them to God and eternal life.
Let’s not retreat. Instead, let’s be good listeners as people process this recent tragedy. Let’s love them genuinely and give Jesus room to reveals his love through us.