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Florida Tragedy

The Christian Response To Mass Shootings

Florida Tragedy
People are asking the questions, how could this happen? Why do these tragedies so often take place? We’re offered a slew of answers from pundits, and “experts,” the news media, politicians… and anybody with a Facebook or Twitter account. The fact is, these attacks shouldn’t surprise us.
 
 
*This post was originally written in response to the Texas Church shooting. Sadly, this type of attack has happened again.*
 
People are asking the questions, how could this happen? Why do these tragedies so often take place? We’re offered a slew of answers from pundits and “experts,” the news media, politicians… and anybody with a Facebook or Twitter account.  The fact is, these attacks shouldn’t surprise us.  They are, in part, the result of a free society that has left behind its objective moral standard, found in Scripture. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people” said founding father John Adams. Within the last 40 years, we’ve essentially abandoned the very foundation of a free society as we find ourselves in Post-Christian America.
 
Ultimately, the fact is we live in a sinful, fallen world where these kinds of things will continue to take place, regardless of what laws are passed or what other man-centered solutions we try to impose. So when it comes to the church shooting in Texas, what is our response as Christians? Of course, there is a full range of emotions – anger and outrage, profound sadness and heartbreak, people asking why God would allow this to happen. While no response we can give will fully ease the pain or remove all the sorrow, there are certain things that all of us, as Christians, know from Scripture.
 
First of all, this is a reminder that are no guarantees in this life. We don’t know how long it will last, and there are no promises in regard to this. In Luke 13, Jesus mentions the tower of Siloam that collapsed and killed 18 people. He tells his disciples that this was not a punishment for specific sin, but that all of us are liable to such tragedies. He addresses this event by telling them to repent and believe. He’s stressing the fact that true faith in him is what is necessary.  Tragedies like Texas or Las Vegas can befall any of us – what is essential is that we have a saving relationship with Christ. While nothing can secure our lives in this world, this secures our eternity.
 
With that in mind, as Christians, we must be especially prepared to face death, because living for Christ often means being confronted with the real threat of persecution.  Jesus said in John 15:18-21 that true Christians will face persecution on account of his name, and we ought not be surprised when this happens (1 Pet. 4:12).  Make no mistake, those killed in the church in Texas are martyrs.  Their lives were taken because of whom their lives belonged to.  The message of hope that they died for is the message that all sinners need to hear.
 
That message is the gospel of Jesus Christ, which addresses the heart of the matter – our sinfulness, clearly seen in acts such as what took place in Texas.  Only the gospel can truly transform lives.  Only the gospel can penetrate the hardest of hearts.  And it is only the gospel that guarantees us life when we’re met with death.
 
The tragedy that took place in Texas reminds us that true and lasting change can only be brought about by the gospel.  Without hearts being transformed, our society will continue to deteriorate in violence. This should urge us all the more to live gospel centered lives – always prepared to preach it, no matter the cost, and living as salt and light while we’re in this world.
 
 
 
Joe Griffo is Pastor of Redeemer Church of South Hills in West Mifflin, PA. Learn more about him here
 
 
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