By James J Jackson
In the aftermath of the senseless slaughter of nearly 100 people in Orlando, Florida the usual suspects have unleashed their attacks on the victims, and, along with various other new voices, offer their slant on the murders and the surrounding issues.
One person opined on Facebook that he or she was concerned that those who died were unrepentent sinners, and, therefore, went to Hell. The insane Westboro Baptist Church, which protests at the funerals of those who died in war, or whom appeared to be involved in public sin issues. Still others believe that the victims received their 'just desserts' because of their lifestyles.
The dichotomy here is that the murderer also cased Disney World as a target. If he had chosen to attack Disney Park, would those mentioned above still believe that the victims would have received their just desserts for their sins? And, what of the victims who died in a hail of bullets after simply attending a Colorado movie theater, something we've all done at times? Are they to be considered as having gotten their just desserts, since every one of them were sinners?
I have a strong belief in the Bible as God's spoken and inspired Word, and I try to apply it's tenets in my life daily. Nowhere in His Word does God appoint me, or any other human as His 'Enforcer', nor does He ask us to police the sins of others. He tells us, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God".. He does not offer some of us absolution from sin, and not others. We are to share God's love in our words and deeds, and love our neighbors as ourselves at all times and in every circumstance.
One's relationship with God is a personal relationship, and I believe His Word teaches us to develop a that relationship with Him, through His Son, Jesus Christ and by His Holy Spirit. He warns us against concentrating on the "splinter in some else's eye, while ignoring the 'plank' in our own". A person who believes he will be rewarded for killing others (especially innocents) will be the most surprised soul in Hell, as he discovers, too late, that the devil is a liar and deceiver.
When people are victimized, regardless whether they were in the midst of sin or not, God wants us, as His people, to show compassion for them, and not waste time condemning or comparing their sin to ours. Although I disagree with many of the actions and lifestyles others choose, it is not my place to decide whether they are being punished for their lifestyle, or any other sins that may exist in their lives. Christ already died for all sin .
Members of the Westboro Church apparently live under a deception that they are sinless, and, therefore, can attack others for not being as 'pure' as they. The day when people such as this stand before the Living God, they will be very surprised that they misinterpreted God's message to them.
I don't believe that, as Christians, we are not asked to participate in or celebrate sinful lifestyles, and I take a stand on believing that God has declared what is right and what is wrong, both in His Word and in the hearts of His people, but, as I said previously, He has not appointed anyone to punish or kill those who may have a sin issue. That is truly between that person and God.
Clearly, evil is in the world, and, as the Bible says, Satan is roaming around, seeking people to devour. Don't become one of his victims by focusing on the sins of others, but, instead, be introspective, and seek to address your own sins, repenting and ask for forgiveness and turning away from those sins that the Holy Spirit has revealed to you. God's peace to the victims and their families. Enough said!
Jim Jackson is a Nationally Syndicated Columnist (www.amyfound.org) and Author (In All Things...Tate Publishing, Oklahoma City). He's a freelance writer and Editor-In-Chief of the Amy Foundation Internet Writing Syndicate. Jim has been a member of St. Matthew Lutheran Church for more than 3 decades.