We live in a crazy world.
We live in a world where a madman who aligns himself with Islamist terrorists guns down a nightclub full of people, and immediately, Christians are lectured and, in some cases, blamed for the attack. (One example from the Washington Post.)
Because of course that lone gunman didn’t reflect the attitudes and beliefs of every single Muslim. So obviously that act of terrorism had nothing to do with Islam.
But if some loudmouth on Twitter spouts off evil speech about the sexual orientation of the victims and attempts to add validity to his hate by bringing the word “God” into the mix, obviously he speaks for all Christians.
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting annoyed.
The question is, what are we to do about it? I know what I want to do. I want to defend myself and my fellow Christians. I want to explain that most of us believers couldn’t care less the sexual orientation of the victims. All human beings are valuable and precious. My Jesus died for every single one of the victims, and if they are precious to Him, then they are precious to me. I reacted like the rest of the country–I was horrified. Unlike much of the country, I immediately began praying for the victims and their families, and like many Christians, I continue to pray.
More than just defending Christians, I want to illuminate the ways Christians serve our society. In my community, I could point to multiple charities started and run by Christians—food banks, homeless shelters, outreaches to the poor, free ESL classes for immigrants—legal and illegal. Last week, my church sent hundreds of students to paint homes for free, just to show the love of Christ and give low-income homeowners a gift. My kids came home splattered with paint and joy because of the experience.
I want to remind the world that obviously there will be some rude Christians, just like there are rude people in every group. Becoming a Christian doesn’t make a person perfect, just forgiven. Most (but not all, unfortunately) of those people will mature. Should I judge every Democrat by the worst of that lot? Every Republican? Every banker? Every store clerk?
Oh, there are so many things I want to say when I hear the foolishness of the world. But then I remember my God, who tells me that it’s not my place to defend myself. In fact, He has a lot to say on the matter in Romans 12*:
Verse 14: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
Verse 17: Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Verse 19: Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Verse 21: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
So it’s not up to me to defend myself or my fellow Christians. And when I remember that my battle is not against people but against the forces of darkness (Ephesians 6:12), it’s easier to forgive the world’s foolishness.
So what are we to do as we live in this age of insanity? We are to love. Jesus said it best: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
We are called to love in the age of insanity.
(*All Bible quotes are from the English Standard Version and copied from Bible Gateway.)
Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, released in April, and its FREE prequel, Chasing Amanda, released in July. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.