The news of what happened in Orlando yesterday has been weighing heavily on me. I remember before September 11th, horrible things happened all the time… but they happened from a distance… Oklahoma City, Columbine, the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. They were tragedies, horrible events that destroyed lives and uprooted families, but there was a comfort in knowing they were happening hundreds or thousands of miles away. But September 11th taught me that it can also happen literally in your back yard. And even if it doesn’t, the years since that day have shown me how quickly the news and the images are plastered across our screens and etched into our memories. And like the proverbial train wreck, we just can’t take our eyes off of it.
The stakes get raised when you have kids. You see everything though the filter of parenthood and suddenly those tragedies carry even more weight because even if it wasn’t your kid, you know it was someone’s kid and that’s enough to make you hurt.
Thankfully my children are young enough that this tragedy will go over their heads. We don’t have cable at home, and we aren’t on computers in front of them. But I have no doubt that one day I will have to explain a similar tragedy to them. I will have to remind them that there is true evil in the world, that there are people that harbor such hatred and wrought such destruction. It is the reality that we live in.
But I will also remind them that there is incredible good in the world too, not because of us, but because of what Christ did on the cross. His death and resurrection mean that tragedy isn’t pointless, and it isn’t forgotten. God cares deeply about people and therefore, so should we. If we see people only through the lenses of race, religion, gender, orientation, (or any other measure we divide ourselves by)- and not through the lens of God’s grace, then we aren’t seeing them at all and we cannot love them. But when we choose to see people as Christ sees them, then each person is valuable and each life is worth protecting- and when that happens amazing things start to happen!