Last Sunday’s tragic Florida nightclub shooting has now taken the lives of 50 individuals. Media interviews and opinions regarding why these events keep happening were immediate. Islamic terrorism, gun control, sloppy FBI investigations, anti-gay prejudice, etc., are being debated as to why another massacre has taken place. But here’s the problem with only focusing on the “why” of Orlando…
When you read the Bible, you will see very quickly that tragedy is a common theme throughout scripture. From the first murder between two brothers (Genesis 4:1-8), to the crucifixion of Jesus (Matthew 27:1-26), we see pain and suffering of innocent people taking place. Even the majority of Jesus’ disciples were tragically killed at a young age. So God is very familiar with pain and suffering and gives guidance in His word on how to walk through it.
But “why” a tragedy takes place does not provide this kind of help. In fact, the “why” won’t remove any pain or suffering that is taking place. It may help with prevention in the future, but it doesn’t change a tragic situation. The only thing that can help is God (see my blog post, How to Respond to a Crisis) and the support of others (2 Corinthians 2:3-4). This is why scripture says…
Romans 12:15 – Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
In other words, it is important as Christians to come alongside those having to walk through a tragedy in a compassionate and emotional way. We are to feel their pain to the point of weeping if they are weeping. The shortest verse in the Bible is probably the most profound because it describes how Jesus responded to the death of His good friend Lazarus. John 11:35 – “Jesus wept”. If the perfect Son of God felt the pain of others, we as Christians are to do the same. When we feel the pain of others, we will then be prompted to pray, help, and support in productive ways. This is when Christian love is truly expressed and experienced.
When we make “why” our primary focus, we are essentially looking for someone or something to blame. When we can assign blame, then we subconsciously distance ourselves from the feelings of a tragic situation by finger-pointing. This then becomes the vehicle with which we replace any loving compassion with much more comfortable anger or frustration. Meanwhile, the people suffering and not being cared for or helped.
So yes, understanding the “why” a tragedy occurred is important for future protection, but before you go there slow down and be willing to sit in the pain and grief of others. This is where God will do His greatest work in our hearts and then we will be motivated and able to be there for those who are struggling.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
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