We know that our world is broken. However, we are often reminded how broken our society is when we are bombarded by the constant chaos, craziness, and hateful crimes that are committed against innocent people. We know that bad things happen to good people, but when you think of places that should be a safe-haven for people, such as churches, then your heart breaks and your soul quakes when you find out that the chaos of our society is pushing its way through our church doors.
It seems like this madness will never end. The entire world appears to be going down a slippery slope which it has no apparent way of recovering from. The church is a place where people go to rejoice in their Lord and to rest their weary souls and to find strength in their God. But when the world and the church collide, people begin to harbor more fear and wonder if there is any place we can go to find solitude, to be at rest, to rejoice, to praise, to sing, to find joy, to be at peace, and to simply pray.
Their solitude, their peace, and their prayer were all interrupted in Sutherland Springs, Texas by one person who decided to burst in and bring their chaos, their insecurities, their fear, and their hatred to the steps of a church in which the people were praising God. Hate collided with the small churches solitude, praise, and worship and they did not know why.
It would be easy to begin to hate the man who brought about the insane madness that has interrupted lives, taken lives, and forever changed a community. Hate could begin to consume those who are left behind to heal. If that were to happen, the world would readily understand this kind of mindset. Even the world realizes that if hate began to fill the hearts of those who were affected by this heinous crime, it would be justified. It would be righteous.
Nevertheless, for those of us who believe in Christ, we know that the Bible teaches that we are to forgive. Yet, when do we begin to forgive? Do we forgive the minute the crime occurs? Or do we have time to waddle in our unforgiveness? These are difficult questions to answer. The only thing I know to do is to take us to the Word of God and see what it has to say.
In the book of Matthew, it says that if we want our Heavenly Father to forgive us of our wrong doings, then we need to forgive those who have wronged us. “If you forgive others the wrong they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done” (Matthew 6:14-15).
The true sign of any Christian, I believe, is the way in which we can forgive. It might take a little time to get to forgiveness, but when you live the life of a Christian, forgiveness must be part of your Christian walk. Take your pain to Christ and He will wrap you in His arms of love. When you’re ready to move toward healing, you will be ready to forgive. Amen? Amen.