A Most Disturbing Violation of a Grandmother’s Freedom of Religion

 

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They’re going hard after the home and personal savings of a kind, lovable, 72 year old grandmother. If that sentence doesn’t bother you, you may want to check the spiritual condition of your heart……..immediately. I would hate for you to pass from this life into the next with that kind of evidence against your soul. As a Christian, I am shaken to the core when I hear stories about my brothers and sisters being persecuted. And yes, I am going to use the word persecution here. The mental anguish being placed upon this woman, and her family, is contemptible. Even if you aren’t a Christian, just plain common decency should cause you to outrage against this. Personally, I didn’t think I would ever live to see the Constitution despised so badly as it is now. Let’s face it. Our nation can’t sink much lower than this. And apart from a miracle of God, it appears like things will only get worse. Michael Brown, host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program, says it is time for Christians to wake up, and stand against the tyranny of the age.

Counting the Cost

Back in 2013, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the ACLU (along with 2 gay men) were the instigators of an ongoing injustice against Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of a small town shop called Arlene’s Flowers. And these people are relentless. They will not stop until this wonderful Christian grandmother is severely punished. And all of this because she loves Jesus, believes His Word, and desires to live her life according to His Word. Even when she is working. Even when it could cost her everything. Yes, I know. Sheds a different light on everything, doesn’t it? Not something you will hear from Hollywood or the liberal media. Don’t let them brainwash you about this case. Barronelle did absolutely nothing wrong.

The Court is Now Complicit

Just recently, in a highly anticipated ruling, the Washington Supreme Court is now an accomplice to Bob Ferguson’s diabolical schemes. They failed to uphold our precious First Amendment, which has been an important staple of the U.S. Constitution for centuries. An Amendment that much blood, sweat, and tears has been spilled over. And now, in the 21st century, everything has changed for the worst. An Attorney General can suddenly, and without warning, dictate his power to go after a 72 year old grandmother who did absolutely nothing wrong. Why? Well, it’s pretty simple. He disagrees with her conscience, and he believes he has the authority to dictate his own conscience upon others. And that is exactly what he, the ACLU, and now the Washington Supreme Court have all done. And worst of all, they are doing all of this to a 72 year old grandmother. Scripture has something to say about this:

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” (1 Timothy 5:1-2…..emphasis mine)

Catch that? Treat older women as mothers. That is a direct command from God. I wonder if the individuals who are going after Barronelle’s assets would ever treat their own mother the same way? According to Scripture, that honor is to be shown to every woman who is older. To be sure, what the Washington State Supreme Court did is wrong, regardless of the fact Barronelle is a grandmother. But the fact that she is a grandmother just makes the whole thing even more heinous.

Also, I seem to remember Jesus condemning men who devour widow’s houses (Mark 12). Barronelle Stutzman is not a widow. But I sure wouldn’t want to stand before God having devoured the home of a dear, sweet, elderly, married woman. Jesus doesn’t give you a free pass if the woman is not a widow. In fact, now you would be devouring the home of both a wife and her husband. You’re putting two people on the streets instead of one. It isn’t safe to play games with Holy Scripture. You’ve been warned. 

How Did Things Come to This?

Attorney General Ferguson got the ball rolling when he went after Barronelle, a woman who has a history of both serving and hiring gay people. Do not let that last sentence pass through your brain without locking it in. Barronelle has a long history of both serving and hiring gay people. But when Ferguson found out through Facebook that she would not arrange flowers for the wedding of two gay men, he stepped way over the line and abused his power. No formal complaint had even been registered at this point. But because Ferguson didn’t like what he heard, he took it upon himself to make sure that everyone agrees with him. And if you don’t, you’re in deep trouble. He will come after you! This ought to deeply trouble anyone who loves freedom, and believes in our First Amendment rights.

Discrimination Properly Defined

According to the Oxford Dictionary, discrimination can be defined as “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.” For purposes of this article, you can go ahead and throw “sexual orientation” into that definition. Because that is the accusation, isn’t it? That Barronelle discriminated against two men because of their sexual orientation? Ummm…………..no. She didn’t. In fact, she had a great relationship with them, and served them for around 9 years or so. Birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Special Occasions, you name it. As much as Barronelle loves flowers, she loves people more. For her, it is always about the people- first and foremost. That is the very reason Robert Ingersoll and his partner Curt Freed decided to go to her in the first place. They claimed it was their favorite flower shop. Why? Because again, for Barronelle, it is about the people. And they know it. She runs her flower shop with love for God, and love for others. The two always go hand in hand.

In the Bible, we are taught to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). But sometimes, even when you do this, people get frustrated with you. They attack you. They seek to destroy you. Not necessarily physically (as in the present case), but emotionally and financially. That is what is happening to this small town flower shop owner. I don’t need to spill much ink on this one. It has been explained over and over again. But just in case you need a refresher, or you’re new to this story, here it is: Barronelle did not discriminate against two gay men. But she could not, in good conscience and in obedience to the Word of God, use her God-given time and creative abilities to arrange flowers for a ceremony that Jesus Christ clearly condemns. Look at the italicized words again: men and ceremony. Or should I say men, as opposed to, ceremony. Not hard to understand. Really, it isn’t. And yet, how many times have I heard the liberal media continue to say that she “discriminated against them because they were gay.” Despicable lies told against this sweet woman should make people ashamed of themselves.

An Unthinkable Ruling

Even as notoriously liberal as Washington State is, this ruling is still unthinkable. In fact, there are three words that come to mind when I think about this recent decision: disturbing, deplorable, and terrifying. But you could also throw in despicable, vile, hateful, ignorant, sinister, and just plain nasty. Make no mistake about it. Of all the ways Christians have suffered under the ever-rising leftist agenda of this country, Barronelle Stutzman has, in my view, endured the worst of the ugliness. It is hard to imagine that anyone who values freedom could be happy with this decision.  Between the lawsuits from the Attorney General and the ACLU, she stands to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. And possibly even her home. The Attorney General isn’t just going after her business, he is going after her. Denny Burk, Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, had this to say:

Barronelle Stutzman’s case is nothing less than an egregious violation of our first freedom. It is Caesar saying, “Conscience be damned. Submit to the new sexual orthodoxy or risk losing everything.”
This is not tolerance. This is injustice that flies in the face of this nation’s laws and traditions. And if this kind of thing can be done to a 70-year-old grandmother running a small flower shop in rural Washington State, then it can be done to you. No one’s conscience is safe if this precedent becomes the norm.

Well, Caesar, I got news for you. Barronelle Stutzman’s conscience won’t be damned for you, or anyone else! Just like Martin Luther, she knows that “to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.”

A New Level of Hatred

So what exactly is going on here? Is this just extreme fearmongering? Are Christians exaggerating the severity of this problem? Rod Dreher, blogger at The American Conservative, doesn’t think so. Here is a direct quote of his from a recent article about the dangerous consequences of the Stutzman ruling.

When the might of the State of Washington and the American Civil Liberties Union comes down on the head of a gentle, grandmotherly, small-town florist, and seeks her ruin for declining to arrange flowers for a gay wedding, you know that we are dealing with a bottomless well of hatred.

I couldn’t agree more with Dreher. The word “gentle” really catches my eye more than anything. Barronelle clearly loved Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, the two men who asked her to arrange flowers for their wedding. If you have any doubt about Barronelle’s sweet, gentle demeanor, and the love she has for these men, then I suggest you listen to her own words. After seeing that video, and how kind and tenderhearted she really is, you will see even more clearly how deep the hatred is. And here’s the really scary part: It is not hatred primarily against Barronelle, conservatives, or even Christians in general. It is hatred against the Lord of glory. It is hatred expressed against Jesus Christ and His glorious, infallible Word. Ultimately, Washington State and the ACLU will answer to Him.

Where is the Outrage?

I thought the progressive left was all about standing up for the marginalized. So then I ask, where are you? A grandmother could possibly lose her home and all of her savings, and yet you have nothing to say. No protest for Barronelle? Oh, wait, I forgot. Unless the person agrees with you on all of your worldview and political ideologies, then they are not worth protesting for I guess. Wow. Talk about insanity. It’s really interesting how the left portray themselves as being so loving and so compassionate, especially to those who are marginalized or persecuted. But yet they are out for blood when it comes to a 72 year old Christian grandmother who is simply trying to make a living, doing what she loves to do. A woman who is simply operating her own private business to the best of her ability, and according to what God has declared in His Word.

Then again, the left has never had much respect for the truly marginalized. For the last 44 years since Roe v Wade, they have supported the murder of the most vulnerable and marginalized of all human beings. Why should Barronelle Stutzman, or anyone else, get any better treatment? And that makes me wonder about something………. In fact, a question to all you progressive, left leaning individuals out there……….

What about all those immigrants you claim to love? What if they tried to enter this country holding signs that said “MARRIAGE IS BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN”? Would you still be protesting for them? Would you let them in??? 

Conclusion

This case may go to the Supreme Court. I don’t know how promising that is considering the landmark ruling two years ago which legalized gay marriage. But I do hope they at least take her case. It’s something we ought to be praying fervently for. Not only for our dear sister in Christ and her family, but for the future of our First Amendment right to exercise our freedom of religion. Also be praying for the wonderful group who are taking up her cause, the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Barronelle is suffering from a great deal of anxiety over all of this. And understandably so. And if our dear sister ever happened to read this, I would remind her of what Jesus said about the lilies of the field.

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Matthew 6:27-29)

Something tells me she gets more out of that verse than most people do.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to Barronelle here.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you enjoy my articles, you can subscribe to this blog by email. It’s free!  And no spam at all! Simply find the box that says “Stay In Touch!!” and enter your email address. The box will be on your upper right (computer), or bottom part of your screen (phone). I appreciate your support!  (-:

Breaking Down The Wall With The LGBTQ

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There is a massive wall between us Christians and gay people, a wall hard to penetrate, hard to see past, it is a wall that seems to be a mile high and a mile wide.
As I think about this wall, and the lack of empathy shown from both sides, it must surely grieve God, and should devastate us as well………the pain it’s causing cannot be denied.
This wall is thick with tension, high on judgment and fear, and seemingly never ending,
And it seems to only get worse with us and homosexuals, with neither side ever bending.

But the wall must be broken down, we have no other choice, as we must break through and cross that border,
God’s weapon of choice is love and compassion, no doubt that this is such a tall order.
Christians, let us move toward gay people, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender,
And I am pointing the finger first at myself and my own failures; I am praying for all of us to be more patient, kind and tender.

We can speak the truth about the liberal agenda in this country, to inform others of their danger; there is definitely a time and a place,
For we know there is less freedom now in America, there are new persecutions that Christians in every state will have to face.
What makes it most difficult is that we so want to love others, and yet in the process of doing so…….those who disagree may charge us with sin.
But what I fear most is that our main objective will turn out to be defending our rights, and starting arguments with the main goal being simply to win.

But our hope is not in our own strength to tear down these walls, our weapons are not warfare.  We will not use the sword, the arrow, or the rod.
Our hope is in Jesus Christ, who broke down the wall between Jew and Gentile, and tore through the veil that separated us from God.
So when we see our gay neighbor, our transgender co-worker, and the lesbian working at the 7-Eleven,
Let us stop and think about our primary goal, that we may have to suffer for the sake of God’s Kingdom, and while doing so, pray that God will save these precious souls, who will then one day rejoice with us in Heaven.

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Are You Gay? What Christians Want You To Know

                          

 

 

Dear LGBTQ community,

True Christians love you and care about your eternal salvation.  Please focus on the word “true” because it makes a world of difference.  As born again, blood bought people of God, Christians do not hate you.  We cannot hate you.  Nor would we ever desire to hate you, or anyone else for that matter.  There are just some things we wish you would understand about us.  And I’m sure, there are things you wish Christians would understand better about you.  Don’t worry, I will challenge Christians on this blog post as well.  I will ask myself, and other believers, some very personal questions about how and why we deal with gay people the way we do.  But right now, there are also many things we want you to know about us.  And when I say “us”, I mean people who are born again and truly fear God.  Gay people, please think about these things I mention.  It really is that important to me, and other Christians, to learn more about you.  We want to know how you think through interactions with us. We want to know how to enter into your life, and how to have solid friendships with you.  We desperately want you to know that we care.  So to everyone who is a part of the LGBTQ community,  we want you to know that……..

1) Christians agonize over how to befriend you, because most of us don’t think that you really want to be our friend.  We do not want to hurt you.  We do not want to make fun of you.  We do not want to get into arguments with you.  In fact, we are so afraid of NOT showing compassion to you, that we sometimes fail to say anything at all.  Admittedly, most Christians are not very good at building relationships with gay people.  I personally struggle immensely with how to do this.  I have read books and countless blog posts to try to learn how to get better at it.  And I’m sure many other Christians do the same.  Christians tend to believe that you want nothing to do with us, and so we often hold back due to our own sinful fear.  This is not an excuse.  It is failure on our part, that we should readily admit.  In fact, Rosaria Butterfield (a former lesbian who converted to Christ) once said, “Prior to conversion, my experience with Christians  was that they were mostly fearful people.”  If you are a Christian reading this, I would advise you to watch this powerful interview with Rosaria.  Gay people, we really want to have empathy with all you have been through, and we want our empathy to be real……not just lip service.  And where we have failed you, we do not cover it up.  We ask for your forgiveness, and we ask for your help.  Yes, we want you to help us to love you.  We want you to somehow let us into your life, so that we might get to know you as a person, and not simply a project.  We do not know your world of friends and hobbies and work.  We do not know your hurts.  But we want to.  And Christians, lest you think I’m going overboard with all of this, please go back and listen to Rosaria Butterfield above, especially when she talks about how Christians can learn much from the gay community.

2) Christians are grieving over the massacre in Orlando.  Yes, we hate when wicked people commit acts of violence against other people.  Yes, even when the victims are people whose lives contain sexual practices that we disagree with.  Can’t you understand this?  Whenever I see those smiling pictures of the Orlando victims, I do not start thinking about the fact that they were gay.  I think about the fact that their loved ones (parents, gay partners, friends, co-workers) will not see them anymore.  And I also think about how scared they must have been to be there at the Pulse Nightclub when Omar Mateen stormed in and went on a killing spree.  Christians have great heartache over this incident.  No, not enough heartache I realize.  Never enough.  But well-known Christian football player Tim Tebow left the Bahamas to go and visit one of the victims.  Please know, gay people, that all true Christians wish to have this same heart as Tebow does.  We want to serve you with acts of love and mercy.  We want to be better with the LGBTQ community.  In a previous post I wrote on the Orlando massacre, I made it clear just how devastated we should feel for all of you.  And if we don’t feel that way, then God help us to repent.

3) Christians feel heartbroken when we see a gay AIDS patient on the cover of a magazine.  I still cannot get this image of David Kirby from Life Magazine out of my head.  I have stared at this image several times in my life.  There are times I have been sitting at my workplace when I had an impromptu thought to google Life Magazine just so I could look at that photo.  I don’t know why I think about it sometimes……..I just do.  Perhaps it’s because I never want to lose compassion for people who are suffering.  Even today, my heart breaks for the Kirby family when I look at that photo.  And when I look at these precious young faces murdered in Orlando, my heart goes out to the families.  I, and other Christians, never want our sharing of the gospel to be words only.  We want to share the gospel, while demonstrating the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.

4) If God were ok with someone practicing homosexuality, true Christians would tell you this.  We would not hide this information from you.  We are not trying to steal your fun.  People who tell you that God is ok with homosexuality just want you to like them.  They care not for your eternal body and soul.  Yes, we have failed greatly at times in our methods and our approach.  We have failed to show the love of Jesus.  And yes, in the last few decades (especially during the AIDS crisis of the 1980’s), we have often just flat out preached the wrong message.  As Christians, we often say that it was only “professing” Christians who did this.  Well, maybe the majority of them were false believers, but born again believers must admit that we are often still influenced by the Moral Majority.  And this is not a good thing.  We must be influenced by Jesus Christ.  He loves sinners.  So should we.  Tragically, some folks in the visible church (not only Westboro), claiming the name of Jesus Christ, have often turned the gospel message into “Just be straight like us.  Stop being gay and God will be ok with you.  Repent of being gay.  Gays cannot enter heaven.  You’re going to end up in hell.”  This is not the gospel.  This is moralism, pride, and fearmongering.  But gay people, please realize that true believers want to tell you the truth.  We want our message to be balanced, with the right mix of law and gospel.  We always want you to know that God is not only holy and just, but He is also love.  We care about what happens to you when you die.  We believe hell is real.  How hateful would we have to be to NOT warn you of these things?

5) Christian pastors, as a general rule, rarely preach on homosexuality as a topic.  And I mean rarely!  In my experience, heterosexual sins are preached on just as much, if not more, than homosexuality or lesbianism.  For the most part, churches focus more on pornography than homosexuality.  We have sexual sin in our lives too.  Christians sin sexually…….. in our minds (by lusting) and sadly, sometimes in deed (by having pre-marital sex or committing adultery).  We’re not better than you.  Not by a longshot.  Christians are not perfect.  Our Savior is.

6) Westboro Baptist Church does NOT represent true Christianity.  I hope you can see a world of difference between them and the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Do you know that Jesus hates what they do?  I mean……….He really hates what they do!  And don’t you know that true Christians think about the pain that gay people feel when they see those horrible picket signs?!  That Westboro cult (notice I did not say church) moves from city to city to hold up banners displaying motives of bigotry and hatred.  Jesus, on the other hand, moved from town to town to show people love and acts of kindness.  He was moved with compassion.  And the kindest, most loving thing He did was to reveal Himself to them.  For since He is the only One who can truly fulfill us, then by revealing Himself to others He is displaying the ultimate love and kindness ever heard of.  Westboro Baptist does not do this.  Despite what they may claim, they do not reveal Jesus to others.  They plot out their picket schedule well ahead of time.  They strategically plan to reveal signs meant to demean, shame, and embarrass gay people.  Jesus, on the other hand, purposefully set out towards Jerusalem.  He plotted His own course.  In fact, nothing would stop Him from entering the town of Jerusalem at the end of His life.  Why, you may ask?  Not so He could hold up picket signs against the Jews and the sexually broken.  He went to Jerusalem specifically so He could die for sinners.  That’s the Jesus true Christians believe in.  He’s the same Jesus that we want you all to know.

7) Most Christians believe that practicing homosexuality is not the “worst sin in the Bible”.  There may be a few exceptions out there, but I believe they are wrong if they believe that is true.  Why do I say this?  Because rejecting Jesus is the worst sin ever.  And apart from God’s grace, that is what everyone in history (gay or straight) would do.  If God did not pursue us, none of us would ever choose Him.  Christians believe your worst sin is unbelief, not your sexual orientation.  Homosexuality is merely a symptom of a much greater disease.  Heterosexuals who have pre-marital sex are no holier than men who practice homosexuality.  Christians, I believe it can be a dangerous game when we start categorizing specific sins by degree.  Because whenever we do this, it is always based on what we think are the worst sins.  From what I see in the gospels, the church elder who sits in a pew week after week with a self-righteous, pharisaical heart is in far more danger than anyone marching in a pride parade.  Greater knowledge equals greater responsibility.  I see no profit in trying to argue that being a homosexual is worse than being a heterosexual fornicator.  Both groups need the cross of Christ just as much!

8) Christians should be much more judgmental about our own sin than that of others.  If we point a finger at you, we better be pointing a few more back toward ourselves.  Jesus reserved His harshest words for self-righteous folks.  A great man named A.W. Tozer once said, “Be hard on yourself and easy on others. Carry your own cross but never lay one on the back of another.”  This should be my personal anthem, and the anthem of all Christians.  We should be held to this standard.

9) True Christians are not, or at least should not, be homophobic.  Do you know that, if a Christian were displaying homophobic behavior, that he needs to be called on to repent of his sin?  Please, gay people, we kindly ask that you would not label us as part of a group like that.  Just like you don’t want us to label you as something you are not, we just want the same fair treatment in return.  That’s all.  The reality is that Christians speak out against many different sins that are listed in the Bible.  We speak out against lying, theft, adultery, envy, anger, etc.  But no one accuses us of being a liar-phobe, or a thief-phobe, or an adulter-phobe, or even a murderer-phobe.  It has nothing to do with hatred or fear.  We are simply warning people that living your life as though the Bible does not exist is a dangerous game to play.  Both sides (gays and Christians) fail in showing empathy, and both need to work on it.  I do not believe that Christians have the market cornered on this one by any means.  We have much to learn.  We cannot let difficult circumstances, and a rapidly changing culture, keep us from reaching out to the gay community.  And I realize that for both sides, with all of the litigation going on regarding issues of religious freedom, and the political mudslinging on top of that, it is very difficult to maintain empathy for people we disagree with.  However, if there is to be any progress made, or any bridges to be built, it must begin with empathy coming from both Christians and gay people.  If we’re not willing to meet each other half way, it is going to be difficult to meet at all.

10) Right now, Jesus loves homosexuals, and transgender people, and lesbians, and transvestites.  He loves you and He died on the cross for sinners to prove that love.  Don’t listen to Westboro.  They are wrong.  God loves Bruce Jenner.  He loves Ellen DeGeneres and Anderson Cooper too.  And by the way, I called him Bruce (and not Caitlyn) because I believe something important about how God created gender in the beginning.  I was not trying to offend you, and I really care about Bruce Jenner.  I am simply obeying my Lord and rejoicing in His perfect distinctions between a man and a woman.

11) Our ultimate goal in sharing the gospel with you is not for you to become a heterosexual.  No, it isn’t the goal.  Not even close.  Our goal is that you would be born again, escape the wrath to come, know the beauty and glory of Jesus Christ, and find all of your joy in Him.  And if we were friends with you, and you reject the gospel message that we share, we have no intention of breaking off the friendship.  Because we believe………..yes, we really believe that you might just be pretty cool to hang out with.  Not everyone that Jesus spent time with embraced His message.  Friendship is much deeper than that.  Gay people, Christians really do love you.  Yes, we disagree with Obergefell.  Yes, most of us oppose the legalization of gay marriage.  I won’t pretend these beliefs do not exist.  But, at the same time, we still care about you.  We wish we knew how to care more.

12) We pray for you.  Yes, my gay readers, we pray for you.  And not just when a tragedy strikes you.  We just…….well, we just pray for you.  Not enough I know.  We can always pray more.  And that is the goal with you, and anyone else who doesn’t know Jesus.  We want you to know the Christ, the Holy One.  We want you to know the King of glory.  And since we are powerless to pull this off ourselves, we go to the One who has infinite power to take out a heart of stone, and replace it with a heart of flesh.  We plead with Jesus to bring you into His Kingdom so that you will have eternal joy in Heaven with Him!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you enjoy my articles, you can subscribe to this blog by email. It’s free!  And no spam at all! Simply find the box that says “Stay In Touch!!” and enter your email address. The box will be on your upper right (computer), or bottom part of your screen (phone). I appreciate your support! (-:

 

 

 

 

Christians, Let Us Never Forget the 49

 

For several reasons, I took a little break from writing over the last few weeks.  Mainly because I was trying to see exactly what direction to go in for my next post.  And yes, I was lazy with mind and keyboard also.  I had to be honest with that.  But I also have been in the midst of a brief series on the topic of fear, and I wanted to wait to see how I might approach the topic this time around.  However, I am moved to write on something that is long overdue, and that much ink has been spilled on.  This particular tragedy in Orlando has been on my heart a lot lately.  It has taken me a few weeks to write on it, because it has been hard to process the proper way to respond.  It has been difficult not to be influenced by much of what I have read.  Not that every influence was bad or anything, just that I wanted to be honest in sharing my own perspective.  I wanted my mind to be as clear as possible, so as not to be insensitive or to comment on things that are secondary to the matter of grieving families and community.

Of course, this tragedy is on many people’s hearts all over the country.  And rightly so.  Every tragedy should be remembered and grieved over.  Grief is universal.  It affects everyone……male or female, gay or straight, young or old, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, or atheist.  Everyone, at some level, grieves.  Sometimes for the right things, sometimes for the wrong things.  This one should break our hearts.  After all, the Orlando shooting was the worst massacre in US history, committed by a man named Omar Mateen. 

What happened at the Pulse Nightclub around 2am on Sunday June 12th should bring us to tears, and to our knees.  That should be our immediate reaction when we think of Orlando.  For Christians who are reading this, didn’t we all grieve last year on June 26th when the Supreme Court made their Landmark Decision on gay marriage being a Constitutional right?  And yes, we believe in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, and so we should.  The Bible clearly teaches it.  But should we not also grieve even more for real people created in the image of the Holy One?  None of us have forgotten about the Supreme Court Decision.  And so we shouldn’t.  But brothers and sisters, let us not forgot Orlando.  Let us not forget the LGBTQ community.  Yes, the sanctity of marriage is an important issue for discussion.  It is important for our children and society at large.  But while realizing this, we must also remember that gay people are living, breathing individuals whose families and communities are suffering great loss right now.

This is not a universal rebuke against Christians, as though believers are not mourning over this horrific event.  Many believers are grieving.  This is simply a warning to us all, Christians and others who oppose gay marriage.  The warning is this: let us be careful that important issues do not take such preference in our lives that we end up forgetting to love human beings in the process.  The throne of God must be approached for these victim’s loved ones.  And I believe that, in doing so, our hearts will be more ready to reach out to them in acts of love.  And we’ll be more prepared to offer them the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  For more perspective on how we should respond to the LGBT community, please listen to RC Sproul in this interview.  His church is about a half hour away from the Pulse Nightclub.

Christians, we need to grieve wholeheartedly for the LGBTQ community.  And I mean really, really grieve.  How?  By praying, giving, and being careful with our rhetoric by speaking the truth in love (see Ephesians 4:15).  What I fear is that somehow, in the midst of arguments on gun control, immigration, and even marriage rights, that we are forgetting to grieve.  49 people created in the image of God have died.  They have died in a very violent manner.  They were scared.  Really, really scared.  Their families know this, and they have to live with that knowledge.  Their children are not coming home anymore.  Let this sink in.  Pray for their loved ones……….brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, friends, and their gay partners.  They all have lost someone they love and care about.  I know that I have failed to soak them in prayer the way that God calls us to.  Let us try to imagine what these victims, pictured here, were truly going through.  Please, click on the link to see pictures of the victims.  It will be a heartfelt, sobering reminder of the preciousness of human life.  They were like me and you in so many ways.  They worked hard, they had hobbies, they had cares and concerns, and like us, wanted to be able to visit a public place without fear of being murdered.  A brutal terrorist named Omar Mateen ended all of their future hopes, plans and joys.

Beloved Christians, let us not forget June 26th 2015, as we know that God was grieved because of that Supreme Court decision.  But brothers and sisters, let us be careful not to let Obergefell choke out our love for Orlando.  Yes, we must speak the truth on marriage.  We must call sin what it is.  At the same time, we must choose our words carefully and make sure our timing is right.  We must have a tenderness about us as Christians that is easy to notice.  Jesus addressed many broken people in the gospels, especially women who were sexually broken.  And He always did it with love.  He had a soft heart for broken sinners.  Let us follow His example.  Beloved, I hope and pray that June 12th, 2016 is etched in our memories for the rest of our lives, so that we never forget the 49.

If you are gay and are reading this post, thank you for taking the time.  I appreciate you and your comments, even if you don’t agree with everything I believe.

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