In light of this weekend’s events in Orlando, Florida, I have set aside the post that was scheduled for today to share with you a statement from LIFE International.
“All human life is of equal worth and immeasurable value, from conception to natural death, because man is made in the image of God.”
– Excerpt from The Journey of a Life-Giver, LIFE International’s training curriculum on the sanctity of human life
Our value to God, the Creator of humanity, remains the same no matter what differences there are among us in sex, sexual orientation, age, skin color, ethnic background, caste or tribe, religion, language, nationality, level of intelligence, social status, or any other factor. There is simply no attribute or trait that can diminish our value in God’s eyes, or diminish His love for us.
God prohibits and detests the taking of human life. LIFE International therefore condemns the massacre in Orlando, Florida—on Sunday morning, June 12, 2016—as a deep transgression against His law (“You shall not murder” Exodus 20:13), disobedience of Jesus’s “second greatest commandment” (“Love your neighbor as yourself” Matthew 22:39), and a violation of fundamental human dignity. We offer our deepest condolences to the families of the slain.
The sole mission of the enemy of all mankind is “to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10a). He doesn’t do these things himself though; he entices, persuades, and coerces others into acting on his behalf. And he accomplished his mission yesterday in Orlando:
- He stole: Hundreds have been directly traumatized, and hundreds more have lost a dear family member.
- He killed: Fifty people made in the image of God are dead.
- He destroyed: An entire community is in shock. A nation reels in response to another massacre.
Our only hope in the face of such evil, and the antidote to the enemy’s tactics, lies in the second half of John 10:10, which says, “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Murder is the antithesis of Jesus’s message; He came to bring abundant life!
In the face of evil and a temptation toward retaliation, then, we must reject “an eye for an eye” (Matthew 5:38-39), and aspire to proclaim, like the LIFE International partner whose father was murdered by terrorists in the Philippines: “I returned to get revenge by spreading love and Christ across [the region].” A vengeance of love! That is the “abundant life” at the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Jesus demonstrated deep and abiding love and compassion for all who encountered Him, regardless of their circumstances. Those who claim the name of Christ have been given an opportunity to follow His example and exhibit Christ-like love and compassion for those affected by this tragedy. We must also renew our diligence to share His Gospel to all yet living, for we have been tragically reminded, once again, that we may not get another chance.
We must love today.
Photo credit: Joshua Lim/Orlando Sentinel