Generally speaking, I don’t like reading about tragedies on social media for days on end, and I rarely have anything to add to the conversation so it is uncharacteristic of me to write a blog post on the subject, but after waking up yesterday afternoon from a dream (I work on night shift and often sleep during the day), the dream stuck with me and something I heard on the news later about the Orlando Shooting nearly made me cry while caring for a patient at work.
What I remember of the dream was fairly simple. I was talking to a young guy–early twenties, college-aged. We were getting on a bus to go somewhere and continued to chat. At some point in the dream I mentioned to him that we needed to get shirts that said something to the effect that God isn’t mad at people because they are gay. In the dream I think I may have had one appear on me while I was telling him. Then I woke up.
The night before last I was awake most of the night working on my newest book, Feathers From Heaven, and I vaguely caught something on my Facebook feed about this shooting, but I didn’t look up any details on it. When I awoke from my dream, I knew that something was up, and my brother-in-law told me about the shooting shortly thereafter. On the drive to work I felt in my spirit that something was wrong–a nondescript feeling I couldn’t describe but utter sadness, to the point that I was crying while driving my truck to work even though I had no words to explain why.
At the hospital, I was working with a patient when I heard on the TV in their room that buses had been taking people away from the danger zone to another safe location. Right then it hit me that I was riding a bus in my dream, with a message that God doesn’t hate people becasue they are gay, and that instead He loves them very much. I realized that many people are going to start running their mouths and spouting off that this is God’s judgment against the gay community.
Let me be extremely clear: God is NOT judging anyone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or any other sexual orientation, and He certainly isn’t commissioning people to commit acts of murder and sheer evil such as the shooting in the Orlando bar. It’s wrong, and it isn’t God’s heart. God loves gays. He doesn’t love people more or less based on who they sleep with or what actions they take. And you know what? Except for the grace of God I’d probably be gay too. Maybe even I’d be in a bar somewhere getting shot at. What makes me different than anyone in that bar? God’s goodness, nothing more and nothing less.
The beautiful thing about what Jesus did on the cross is that God is no longer counting our sins against us. Some people consider being gay a sin. Others don’t. Regardless of where you stand, the Bible is very clear that God isn’t standing in heaven with a lightning bolt waiting to smite people–He doesn’t have any smiting left to give because Jesus willingly took all judgment and wrath upon himself. God has nothing but love and kindness to give, which is really all He had to begin with.
It is very important that in the days ahead we make sure to avoid judgment, anger, hate, and anything along those lines when talking to people in the gay community. You know what? People are afraid. If nothing else, this attack accomplished that. People now have even more of a reason to fear for their lives simply because they are alive and breathing. And you know what else? It’s our job to do something about it. Whether we make shirts or signs and stand at a gay pride parade or even just refrain from posting judgmental comments on social media, let us all make an effort to dispel fear, encourage love, and generally just be decent people without making this mass murder about guns, who we sleep with, or anything other than an opportunity to love some hurting people and pray for them.
What would Jesus do in this situation? Likely, he would operate in power and raise the dead. He would be kind to the brokenhearted. He would lift up the downcast and sit with the grieving. Jesus would be the living embodiment of the kindness and goodness that are the only things that bring healing in this type of situation. He would love, and love deeply. We are given many options of how to respond today. Let us choose to be Jesus to someone.