What happened in Orlando at a gay bar earlier this summer seems unthinkable, yet it wasn’t. I mean, all of us had thought about it. We knew the possibility of an attack by a Muslim terrorist (and that’s what he was) or a group of them—on our soil—again—was likely. To me, this is the worst case scenario, though, because, after the fact, reflection brings such a cold hard truth to mind. This truth keeps haunting me: Every single person killed—every.single.one– so far as can reasonably be determined —was involved, at the time, in overt rebellion against the plainly stated will of God. Certainly the perpetrator was committing murder in the first degree multiplied times over. He left this life without hope. Those fifty people who were brutally killed in an establishment where homosexuality is celebrated and liquor was flowing at two o’clock in the morning on that Lord’s day also left this earth without hope. Christians who went to worship Him later that morning know, whether we have verbalized it or not, that the murderer and the murdered left this life to share an eternity in hell together.
Certainly we can take nothing but sorrow from that realization. I’m pretty certain there are parents left behind—parents of some of those millennials who died—who are believers in Christ and the Bible. How their hearts must grieve at the realization that their children left this earth while participating in a hedonistic lifestyle that scoffs at the Word of God. We grieve with them. Perhaps some of them were unaware of that lifestyle in which their children were involved until the news and circumstances of their deaths were announced. The pain of even thinking about that, for me as a parent, is hard to fathom.
It’s true that we are all sinners…condemned…without the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Praise God for that Lamb! But for those of us to whom that Lamb’s blood has been applied, the Orlando incident represents a greater tragedy than even the loss of fifty lives and the fact that Islamic terrorism is a constant threat to our American way of life. The added dimension, for Christians, is the knowledge that both terrorist and terrorized, in Orlando, are in the same list in God’s word. We’ve come to the point in America, at least in this instance, in which calling the victims “innocent” is, although appropriate in some sense, technically inaccurate. The list is here:
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death (Rev. 21:8).
Here it is again from Romans 1:28-32
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
I’m sad for people who left this world from a gay bar. At the same time, I am stricken with the reality that I could leave this world at any time and there’s a list of sins in these passages that’s far broader than just murder and homosexuality. May I do my very best to honor his laws; to be found in places and with people who will help me to do that. May I constantly praise him for the blood that cleanses me as I walk in His light, doing my best to honor Him (I John 1:7). And, finally, may I realize that there are two great enemies of this great American culture we’ve known for 250 years. One is the threat of the Muslims who are practicing what the Quran teaches (in multiple Quran passages) about slaughtering followers of the Lamb. The other is Americans who have forsaken the teachings of the slaughtered Lamb.
I pray for America regularly. But in those same prayers, I thank my Father that I am part of a kingdom that will still be standing when America falls. May His children here be faithful to Him. May He be merciful to His children here.