“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”Romans 12:10-15 NASB
More and more we are seeing mass shooting events throughout the world. On June 12, 2016 America saw its worst mass shooting with at least 49 people killed as the result of a man who claimed to be of the Islamic faith. Many people are understandably upset. Many people took to social media to voice their frustrations.
I saw people who claimed to be Christian posting things that were not Christlike. I will not even repeat the things I saw on Twitter since they were just wrong and not helpful to the conversation. There are certain ways we as Christians should respond during tragic events. Doing these things will show the love of Christ.
Ways to respond in a tragedy
Love each other
As Christians we are told that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord. The second is to love your neighbor. We are to love everyone. When people are hurting you need to show some compassion. This is not a time for political agendas. This is also not a time to bash people for their beliefs.
Serve the Lord
Serve the Lord through your words and actions. Do not just say you follow Christ. Use this time to share the love of Christ with those that are hurting.
Persevere in tribulation
As we face tribulation we must keep our faith and hope in Jesus. Leaning on Jesus in tough times is how He wants us to respond. We must be dependent on Him.
This should be the first thing we do. It is number four on the list just because of the way it falls in the scripture. We should turn to God and pray for all that are involved. We should not turn to social media first. Many of us, I am including myself, will turn to social media to see what everyone is saying. This is when a lot of people start voicing their opinions and start ranting. This will not solve anything. It just adds fuel to an already hot fire.
Take this time instead to pray for the victims and their families. Pray for the first responders. These people are going to face a lot of stress during this time. Pray for guidance, strength, courage, and for safety. Also pray for those that have caused the situation. Pray that they will repent and turn to God before its too late.
When a tragedy occurs we should practice hospitality. This could take on several forms. You could donate blood as blood supplies will be low. You could donate money to help victims with financial needs that arise from the situation.
During natural disasters there are things you can do as well. You can get involved with disaster relief agencies such as Samaritan’s Purse. You can donate money, food, or time.
Bless those that persecute you
When you are persecuted as a Christian you should pray for the one that is persecuting you. This comes from Jesus’ most famous sermon, the Sermon on the Mount. This is hard for many people. It is so counter culture to they way we think. Many people automatically seek revenge and think evil thoughts. You cannot fight evil with evil. You can fight evil (and win) with love.
Weep with those that weep. This is a time of mourning. Be there for those that are hurting. Offer a shoulder to cry on. Listen to them as they express their feelings. Let your heart break for what is breaking their hearts. If you do not know the victims personally this does not mean you cannot weep for them. It is okay to be sad for those that are hurting.