Yesterday our nation experienced a tragedy when a gunman massacred 49 people and wounded another 53 (at my last news update) at an LGBT nightclub. This attack was, without a doubt, an unspeakable act of hate. A specific group of people was targeted because of their beliefs and lifestyle, the definition of a hate crime.
I read a lot of views on Facebook and Instagram yesterday about what happened, and honestly, I saw a lot more hate. There were a lot of pointing fingers. There were those that took the opportunity to make accusations at people that oppose of the LGBT lifestyle. There were some that talked about how the church may not step up and help. In my own feed, I didn't see anything that condoned what happened, but I'm sure its out there. What I didn't see was a sense of unity.
Here's the thing. I don't agree with the LGBT lifestyle. But you know what? That doesn't mean I can't or won't pray for the victims, their families, and the LGBT community as a whole, because we don't have to agree to pray for each other. My praying for someone does not mean that I condone and support all of their life choices. It does not mean that I've suddenly changed my views and values. Prayer is an act of love. And love, my friends, is our job as Christians.
Caleb Karltenbach states, in his book Messy Grace, that, "Love is the tension of grace and truth." And right now is not the time for truth. It is not the time to discuss someone's life choices and whether those choices align with ours. Right now is a time for us, as a church and a country to say, "It does not matter what you believe, what happened to you is unacceptable because you are a human being."
Christ said it even better in John 13:34-35, "A new command I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
I have friends that do things that don't align with my beliefs and I don't agree with. I've done things that my own mom doesn't agree with. But love doesn't mean agreement. Love means that we accept that all people are made by God, our creator, and deserve to feel safe. They deserve to know that, whether we agree or not, the church will pray for their healing. That the church will pray for their strength. That the church will pray for them to have peace. Because that is our job as the church, to pray and to love.