Another senseless tragedy has taken place in this world. There have been so many that it's hard to fathom what's going on. What are people thinking when they're killing other people? Recently 19 young girls were put into iron cages and burned alive because they refused to have sex with their captors. In Orlando, 50 people were killed in a nightclub because of how they chose to live their lives. These are horrible, senseless acts of hate. The Blacked Eyed Peas hit the mark with their question - Where's the Love?
Let me get one thing straight before I continue with this. I self-identify as a Christian. I am a Follower of Jesus. I love God. But I haven't always. In the grand scheme of things I am new at this Christianity thing. I do know this though... there are 2 commandments:
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and
with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like
it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two
commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV)
I want to go backwards a bit because I saw a Facebook post from a friend of mine where a Christian Pastor came forward with the statement that gay people should be to death. An Atheist group shared this post. Allow me to get this out there - I was an atheist. Five years ago I would have happily shared that post and agreed that all religions are cults. If you understand anything about this post, understand this... I have been there. I have had that way of thinking. I. Get. It.
In times of trouble and strife, as a human being, we want to find someone to blame. Some organizations make it easy by accepting the blame for horrible things that happen in the world. However, at no time, as a Follower of Jesus - Disciple, Christian, whatever you want to call me - at no time do I ever accept acts of hate against another human being. I don't care who they are, what they've done, how they live or what colour their skin is. There is no reason for hate.
Jesus already answered all of this. Love one another. What if they're gay? Love them. What if they're shooting drugs into their veins? Love them. What if they're constantly drunk? Love them. What if they're ideas and views are different from mine? Love them. What if they-? Love them. What about-? Love. Love. Love. Not hate, hate, hate. Not tolerate, tolerate, tolerate. It's simple. Love.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you,
so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you
are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35, NIV)
Do you know how Jesus showed his love to the twelve disciples? He washed their feet. In a time where washing someone's feet was the lowliest servant's job, Jesus got down on his knees and washed their feet. He became their servant. Sure it doesn't sound like a big deal in this time period, but it was a huge deal then. He showed love. He was love. He didn't pick and choose who to heal. He didn't say, "oh, she lives with a man she's not married to, I can't help her" (John 4:1-42) or "oh, he has leprosy, I'm not going near him" (Matthew 8:1-4). He helped and healed those that others wouldn't even approach.
Do you know what Jesus said about the men who nailed him to a cross? Who were about to take his life? The men who had whipped him, crammed a thorn crown on his head, beat him and then made him carry his own cross to where he would be crucified. There's nothing quite like carrying your own method of death around through a crowded area. Did he respond in hate? No, his last word were of love.
"Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing." (Luke 23:34, NIV)
I guess at the end of it all what I'm trying to say is this - I was an atheist and I understand your questions. I also understand, from my personal perspective, that sometimes all the research hasn't been done. I was in your shoes. However, not once in the Bible, am I told to hurt someone or kill someone. I'm never instructed to judge others for their actions or lifestyle. Only to love them.
You know the saying, the grass is always greener on the other side? This is my attempt to find greener grass right where I am in my life.
BTW - I'm the one on the right, just in case you didn't already know that.