The Orlando Shooting and What I Had to Confess

The Orlando Shooting and My Confession. SmellingCoffee.com

I’m deeply sorry that this was true of me, but feel very strongly that the Lord is leading me to bear it out on this blog, so I’m going to open up my ugly… trusting that God will use it to help someone else process through theirs.

When I heard about the terrible shooting in Orlando, I was “sorry”… but I found myself saying and feeling it with a distant and hard heart. It kind of puzzled me. But then, I was tired. It was not local. It didn’t immediately affect me. I didn’t know the details, and hadn’t yet put “people” on the other end of those bullets. I thought that explained my distance of concern over the shooting. That, and the fact that so many terrible things are going on all of the time…

My friend, Amy, lives right outside of Orlando, and this is what she shared on her FB feed yesterday afternoon, though I didn’t see it until today:

A few thoughts before my Sunday afternoon slumber…I am blessed today because….I am alive, I have a bed, clean water, ate lunch, I have a family, I have health, and the list could go on for days!!!!! We often forget to count our blessings. We complain about little inconveniences, the heat, the rain, traffic, waiting in a line, loud music , soft music, not being able to see from your seat at Church, bad service at a restaurant, all the while God must just shake his head. Then on a normal day like today we mourn the loss of life of 50 innocent people and it gives me and you a huge dose of reality. I am called to be different, but am I? Do I complain, do I whine when I am inconvenienced, do I love without strings attached, how will the world ever see Christ if they don’t see him in me and you? A new president or more gun control will not change a thing. The gospel of Jesus is our only hope. Today I am blessed and oh so very convicted.(AF)

She is SO right, isn’t she?

This morning God showed me that my lack of mercy for these victims wasn’t the fact that I was tired or uninformed… {I’m about to be shamefully gut-wrenchingly, honest with you… } When every “acceptable reason” was stripped away for my hard-heartedness, what He revealed to me was that if this had happened in any other “night club,” I would be showing more mercy in my thoughts and prayers. Ouch!

So in my most vulnerable state ever, here are the three things God is dealing with me that I am to humbly pass along to you:

1. I like to think of myself as loving everyone as the same… but obviously I have a far way to go. And I’m sorry for that. And I’m working on that. Right now.

The truth is: That club was full of people God loves and Jesus died for… just as He loves and died for me. Period. “All have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. “But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for US.” Romans 5:8. (emphasis, mine) “For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world, that He even gave His One and Only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him as Savior shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

This is not a debate about what is and isn’t a sin… ALL of us have a sin problem. And that nightclub was filled with sinners, just as it would have been if you and I and all of our “church friends” were in it! The lives of PEOPLE loved and created in the image of God were taken, and that’s not taken lightly by their Creator… and it shouldn’t be taken lightly by me {us} either.

This is a FB post from a local pastor, Bro. Tim Starnes, that I read this morning, as God was continuing to convict me:

I find it strange that some posts are encouraging conservative Christians not to speak to this issue, almost indicating it was their fault. Some of the responses to Christian leader who did express sympathy are vulgar and profane. Christians of all stripes should mourn over this tragedy, and pray for God’s comfort on the family and friends Of the victims. Please don’t drink from the stream of hate at a time like this, it can not quench your anger.

Thank you, Bro. Tim!

2. I was hard hearted because I was fearful that this will turn into another “gay rights” issue. These were Americans.  And I’m wondering that if a group of Christians were shot at a Christian event, would there be this kind of outrage and defense? There, as bad as that sounds… I said it, because that’s honestly what was in my darkened heart.

Want to know what the Holy Spirit whispered in my heart as I was reading through Romans 12?

That is not my concern. How others react to this should not affect my response of mercy and concern for the hurting. God is holding ME accountable for what I do. Not for what others do. I must answer to Him for my reaction when tragedy strikes and people are hurting. “Weep with those who weep – share other’s grief.” Romans 12:15.

Then the Lord led me to go through all of Romans 12, highlighting again how God wants us to ACT and to REACT in every circumstance. (I’ve posted it below if you want to read it for yourself. It’s good!!!)

3. How Christians (those of us who claim to follow Christ) react to this tragedy and to the people who are grieving may/WILL BE a determining factor in one or many a hurting person’s life – showing them whether this God we claim to serve really is LOVE or not. Our actions and reactions, and mercy or lack thereof, will have eternal repercussions.

Jesus knew this, and told us how important it was that we show love and mercy over hardheartedness and selfishness.

“I am giving you a new commandment,
that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you,
so you too are to love one another.

By this everyone will know
that you are My disciples,
if you have love
and unselfish concern
for one another.”
John 13:34-35

The beauty of the Holy Spirit’s conviction, and our ability to confess and repent, is forgiveness and a clean heart!

“If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude ourselves and the truth is not in us. [His word does not live in our hearts.]

If we freely admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose]. 1 John 1:8-9

My friends, I have freely admitted to the Lord that I have sinned in my attitudes and reactions, and our God, my Savior, Father, Teacher, and Friend has been so faithful to forgive and cleanse me of that.  Thank you, Jesus!!!

My heart is now at peace joy with Him and I am genuinely praying for these dear ones in Orlando, looking forward to watching how God will take even this tragedy and work His Romans 8:28 promise on it.

Is God dealing with you in any way today? Don’t delay your response to Him.

Need to confess? Go to Him right now and lay it out before Him. (He knows it anyway.) He is faithful and loves you so much… His arms are waiting to bring you back into the fold.

Not sure what you need? Read through Romans 12 (below) and ask the Holy Spirit to convict you, then respond as necessary.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right and steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

I’m praying with you, my friends~

 

Romans 12 (Amplified Bible, 2015 Edition)

Dedicated Service
12 [a]Therefore I urge you, [b]brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be [c]transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].

3 For by the grace [of God] given to me I say to everyone of you not to think more highly of himself [and of his importance and ability] than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has apportioned to each a degree of faith [and a purpose designed for service]. 4 For just as in one [physical] body we have many parts, and these parts do not all have the same function or special use, 5 so we, who are many, are [nevertheless just] one body in Christ, and individually [we are] parts one of another [mutually dependent on each other]. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them accordingly: if [someone has the gift of] prophecy, [let him speak a new message from God to His people] in proportion to the faith possessed; 7 if service, in the act of serving; or he who teaches, in the act of teaching; 8 or he who encourages, in the act of encouragement; he who gives, with generosity; he who leads, [d]with diligence; he who shows mercy [in caring for others], with cheerfulness.

9 Love is to be sincere and active [the real thing—without guile and hypocrisy]. Hate what is evil [detest all ungodliness, do not tolerate wickedness]; hold on tightly to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor; 11 never lagging behind in diligence; aglow in the Spirit, enthusiastically serving the Lord; 12 constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ], steadfast and patient in distress, devoted to prayer [continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength], 13 contributing to the needs of God’s people, pursuing [the practice of] hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you [who cause you harm or hardship]; bless and do not curse [them]. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty [conceited, self-important, exclusive], but associate with humble people [those with a realistic self-view]. Do not overestimate yourself. 17 Never repay anyone evil for evil. Take thought for what is right and gracious and proper in the sight of everyone. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for by doing this you will heap [e]burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome and conquered by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Footnotes:
a Romans 12:1 Paul now begins outlining for the believer the practical application of the theological truths taught in chs 1-11.
b Romans 12:1 Lit brethren.
c Romans 12:2 From the Greek word meaning “metamorphosis.” Refers to the process that leads to an outward, permanent change.
d Romans 12:8 Or without ulterior motives.
Romans 12:20 This may refer to an ancient Egyptian custom in which a penitent person carried a bowl of burning embers on his head to show his shame and guilt. By analogy, being kind to an enemy may lead him to shame and repentance.

signature
PS: Don’t want to miss another Smelling Coffee blog post? Just enter your address below.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

(Be sure to check your inbox for a note from me and to verify your email address.) No spam, I promise… Only encouraging words of Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place. 🙂

 
About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at SmellingCoffee.com

Comments

  1. First, please allow me to thank you for your honesty. I totally agree with you that we as Christians need to “UP our loving” in our own hearts, it is so easy to slide into callousness.

    I am unable to go out very much and have been asking God what he would have me doing. I knew it would involve a sort of prayer ministry but I wasn’t clear about what exactly He was wanting. Reading your post today has been as if God is saying “Here it is!”

    Thank you for sharing your heart.

    Judi

    • Hi Judy. I’m SO thankful that God used this post to guide you in His ministry for YOU!!! Thank you for sharing that with me. Praising the Lord for YOU and for what you are doing in and through the Lord right where you are!!!
      With love,
      Jennifer

  2. It’s all about loving our neighbor well – isn’t it! Christianity doesn’t take away a man’s right and timing to find redemption because he doesn’t like what he’s doing. Christianity prays and loves the sinner in the wait of receiving redemption. Love waits and hopes. Love doesn’t cut short. Glad you shared your heart!