This past weekend I was on a short chorus tour with a group from church. Since I have a phone that doesn’t use Verizon towers, I was out of reception almost all of Friday and Saturday. Saturday night I stayed at a house that had decent internet so I checked and replied to email.
Once the emails were taken care of I switched to Facebook, making sure everything was under control on our Farm’s page.
And then I checked the news.
It was about 10:30 till I got around to opening the browser tab that I had started loading the news in. The first thing I saw was a headline about someone who I had heard of on YouTube a long time ago being shot. She was signing autographs for fans after giving a concert. A guy walked up and simply shot her.
I don’t know how to describe the feeling I got when I read that headline, except to say that it felt like the bottom fell out of my heart. At the same time I felt literally sick to my stomach.
I’ve been fascinated with the way a lot of young artists and creatives are building a following as YouTubers and then turning that into more of a mainstream career. Although I didn’t personally know Christina Grimmie, I’ve heard a number of her covers over the years as well as some interviews with her. She seemed to be an authentic young lady who loved her family and God and who was working hard to become the best singer/songwriter/artist she could.
Sunday at some point I pulled out my phone to check Facebook and was met with some new headlines. This time it was regarding a mass shooting in Orlando.
Once again I got the empty feeling in my gut like I’d been sucker punched.
There were something like 50 dead and another 50 injured.
I thought about writing this post Monday but I wanted some more time to process things in my mind. I guess I thought I might come to some helpful conclusions.
I don’t know if I have or not, but here are a couple of thoughts I’ve had recurring in my mind.
Everyone is so Incredibly Human
In the aftermath of such an even it is always interesting to see what people are saying, writing and tweeting about online. It’s obvious that some people enjoy nothing more than heaping painful and terrible words into an already sad situation. Others are more thoughtful in what they have to say. Still others come out with pat answers or blanket statements that are supposed to be applicable.
Since Christina’s death, a number of artists have dedicated a song to her at a live show. Numerous YouTubers have recorded heartfelt videos discussing the fear and anger having a fellow YouTuber attacked has brought into their lives. In both cases it is plain to hear the emotion and pain in their voices.
This isn’t supposed to happen, right? At least not in America?
As I see these kinds of things happen and humans reacting to them, I can’t help but be reminded of the simple fact that we are all human. Whether we live on a farm and use horses to farm, or perhaps we are a YouTuber, or perhaps a famous artist.
At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter where we find ourselves in this thing called life. Regardless of how powerful or wealthy we may become (or if the opposite of that is true). We all can be shaken to our very core by events around us.
We are all incredibly human.
A Disagreement isn’t Grounds for Hate
The second thing that keeps coming up in my mind is the idea that a disagreement, even one so politically and emotionally charged as gay/LGBT rights, is never grounds for hate.
I don’t know all the details or motives behind the shooting in Orlando… I haven’t had a lot of time to look into them, and frankly I don’t think I want to. However from what I have seen, the attack was focused on some sort of gay event or bar or something.
This world seems to have become a place where only the thing that I believe about a certain subject/topic is the right thing. If someone dare disagree with me they must be my arch enemy and therefore deserve to be hated… Or worse.
This shooting brought about a lot of this kind of “yelling back and forth.” Having nothing to do with the fact that 50 people were murdered. This terribly sad fact seems to be lost amid the political/media back and forth that showed up almost immediately.
I guess I don’t understand why disagreeing on a particular subject has to mean that both sides hate each other. I do understand that many people have a very personal, deep connection to these kinds of issues, but they are still never grounds for hating someone or wishing harm on them.
Disagreeing is never grounds for hate.
God Help Us
And this is the bottom line. As someone who believes there is a God and that there is evil in the world. There is only one hope for America and for the entire world.
That hope is Christ.
In this selfie generation, full of pride, full of “I’m right and you’re wrong,” full of “quit judging me”, (yes I struggle with these things too) we need a foundation. We need a rock to stand on.
I’m more convinced now than ever that the only firm foundation for any of our lives is Christ.
Jesus walked this earth helping and loving those around him. Did he say some hard things? Yes. However, it is always clear that his goal in everything he did (even in saying hard things) was to point people away from themselves, away from a superficial religiosity, and towards the changed life that can only come through Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit.
That is what we need friend. We need a world full of people who are not focused on themselves. A world completely focused on Christ.
So… where is your focus today? How is your foundation?
Also, I love you. Regardless of who you are, what you believe, what you’ve done, or whether you love me. I choose to love you.