02 Oct Responding to Las Vegas
by Scott Scruggs, Senior Pastor
This morning I awoke to the tragic news about the mass shooting in Las Vegas. I was instantly heartbroken, confused, and angry, as I know many of you were. I can’t even fathom what the families of the victims are now facing.
It goes without saying that this is not how things should be. This is not what God wants for any individual or family or community or city or nation. This kind of violence is a reflection of human sin at its worst, and it should disgust us as it disgusts our God.
As I’ve been watching the news coverage and following the outpouring of love and outrage on social media, I wanted to share a few thoughts with you as we think and pray and consider how we should respond as followers of Jesus and as a church.
Today, we join with the families who lost loved ones in crying out
First, we must be wary of reacting with religious clichés or trite answers. Today the most Christ-like response is what Christ did when he experienced the stench of death in losing his close friend Lazarus. He fell down on his knees and wept. No words, just grief. Today, we join with the families who lost loved ones in crying out, “God, why on earth did you let this happen?” I wish I knew.
We must also remember that, on a day when it is tempting to be disparaging about the state of our world, there will be stories of heroic love and self-sacrifice—of men and women giving up their lives to try to save others. These acts of self-giving love are signs of hope for our world and seeds of the kingdom of God still at work in our midst. We acknowledge and give thanks for the women and men who risked or gave their life for others—even for strangers. You are a picture of Jesus and a reminder of how we should all live.
Most importantly, we must commit to change. In the days and weeks ahead, it will be easy to forget and move on. But God doesn’t call us to move on. He calls us to hate what is evil, to cling to what is good, to be devoted to one another in love, to be joyful in hope, to be patient in affliction, and to be faithful in prayer. He calls us to bless those who persecute us, to mourn with those who mourn, and to live in harmony with one another. He calls us to not repay anyone evil for evil, but to live at peace with everyone. He calls us to not be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good.
I ask that all of us commit to pursuing this way of life, at your work, in your school, with your neighbors, and for the sake of your enemies. And to do so, not because evil might win, but because we still believe that it has already lost.
Come, Lord Jesus!