MICHAEL ANTHONY BLOG
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If you’re an alleged Christ-follower, and you don’t have sympathy for the folks gunned down in Orlando, something is fundamentally wrong with you. But if you think the people who were killed and wounded somehow deserved what they got because they were among the LGBTQ community, that takes things to a whole new level – and you should be ashamed. More than that, you should feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and be moved with compassion for those who were hurt.
If Jesus teaches us anything, it’s that it’s not only possible, but also probable to genuinely love people who disagree with you. You may not have much in common with the LGBTQ community. You may even be on the opposite side of the spectrum in regard to what they believe and practice – but when someone is bullied, brutalized or butchered a real Christ-follower follows Christ. A real Christ-follower cares.
Janet and I want to express our heartfelt sympathy to everyone in Orlando who lost a loved one. We are praying for everyone who was injured and may either be fighting for their life or be badly wounded. Your life matters to God – and it matters to us.
For those who may not have entered into the pain of what folks in Orlando are experiencing, let’s remember a few key things Jesus teaches that apply in this exact situation:
Matthew 11:19 (ESV):
Mark 12:31 (ESV):
Colossians 3:12 (ESV):
Do you care about the loss of life, the pain and sorrow for folks in Orlando? What is God teaching you through this ordeal?
Can we have an honest talk about violence and the real issue here without adding insult to injury? The answer lies in how you, my readers, will respond – because I’m going to try to apply some common sense to the perfect storm that erupted in Orlando: A homosexual nightclub with 49 killed and dozens more wounded by a Muslim perpetrator who purchased guns legally. What happened surely has haters salivating, because it was such a juicy convergence.
Everyone is salivating. Homosexual haters. Muslim haters. Gun haters. People who support concealed carry rights. People who hate America. Excuse me while I grab a towel. This blog has unexpectedly become a very wet experience.
You can’t make this stuff up – and this is the point. Orlando is the new America. But new does not mean improved. As long as we keep putting bandages over infections, the festering will continue. Have you ever seen a festering wound? It’s not pretty – and neither is the new America. Hold on to your seats, folks, this wound is going to become far more colorful until we get to the heart of the matter. Literally.
America needs a nice, long bath. The danger in saying so is that many in new America will misunderstand me and go out and buy bubble bath, excited with the suggestion. (Yes, I too have fond memories of childhood bubble baths). Pleasure and entertainment are central to how Americans think these days – and it’s clouding our thinking. The kind of bath America needs involves a lot of soaking, a lot of soap and a vigorous amount of scrubbing.
To be clear, I’m being figurative. No amount of soap and water will scrub away our filth.
THE HEART OF THE MATTER
Our cleansing begins with a serious self-examination of the heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says it well:
In Mark 7:20-23, Jesus says
There is a high probability that the violence displayed in Orlando will happen again in America – and no amount of legislation will prevent it. Why? Because legislation cannot address the breeding ground of violence, and that breeding ground is the human heart. We should be talking about the heart right now, because the heart is the matter.
Gun haters are already using Orlando as a soapbox to demonize guns and gun owners. They conveniently ignore the possibility that maybe if a few folks in the Orlando club had been concealed carrying, the murderer would have been instantly marginalized. In fact, had he known that clubbers were likely packing, he might have been deterred altogether.
97% of guns owned by Americans are being used legally and responsibly. We could outlaw all the guns in America. All that would do is make the law-abiding people sitting ducks. What’s often touted as #gunsense is usually nonsense.
Consider these facts:
- Cain killed Abel – and a gun was nowhere to be found
- Peter used a sword to lop off Malchus’ ear (John 18:10)
- Stephen, the first martyr, was killed with stones (Acts 7:45-60)
We could rid the world of every last gun, sword and stone – and violence would not vanish. People are exceptionally creative – and violence is in our DNA. We will find ways to kill each other with butter knives. Remember WWI? It was called “The War To End All Wars.” Was it? Do I really have to answer that question?
Rant about gun violence all you want. Use Orlando as your soap box. I’m going to address the human heart – because that is exactly what Jesus did. My own heart proves Jesus right, and if you’re really honest with yourself, so does yours.
Stop fixating on the symptoms, whining every time a Christian stands up and points us to the biblical Jesus as the solution. And when you tell me I cannot speak about the biblical Jesus, because doing so will offend those who have recreated Jesus in their own image – a false Jesus – your irony will come full circle. You, who brand yourself as so deeply concerned about violence, are really the ones unwilling to seek the real solution to all violence, Jesus Christ.
Top banner photo courtesy of Doug Clifford/The Tampa Bay Times via AP
I’m very grateful to be chosen as a guest writer for Patheos.com for the new movie Me Before You. The movie is a love story about a young couple – and the extraordinary challenges they face when things take an unexpected turn. What does it really mean to “live boldly” as the movie encourages? When is a live worth much – or not much at all? Here are my thoughts – which I’m sure will make you think about what it means to “live well” . . .
Have you seen “Me Before You”? What are your thoughts about when a life is no longer worth living? Who can make such decisions? What does it mean to “live boldly” and to “live well”?
FEATURED BLOG ON PATHEOS.COM – SO MANY OF US HAVE IT WRONG TODAY. We think we are worthless heaps of rubbish and that God can only use perfect people. But Jesus would not die for junk – and there are no perfect people to use. The cross of Christ reminds us that while we are not worthy of Jesus’ sacrifice, we are worth a great, great deal to the Father. The cross reminds us that a perfect God deeply loves imperfect people.
Every single one of us is a sinner in the hands of a loving God. This discovery will spark a modern Great Awakening. And, brother, do we ever need it. What are we waiting for? Let the revival begin.
To love God is to resist evil. We’re very thankful to TownHall.com and Courtney O’Brien for publishing today’s interview with my comments about President Obama’s Constitutional over-reach in his Friday the 13th locker room decree. Click here to read the interview, and be sure and share your views below.
If you’d like to hear the message where I made those comments, and understand their context, simply click here. You may also be surprised to hear me rebuke Christians for being unloving, insensitive and hypocritical for our lack of compassion toward those who struggle with sexual identity issues.
What do you think? Is the President bullying God and ignoring the written law of the land, the united states constitution? if so, what peaceful, legal things should we do?
IS THERE AN ELEPHANT IN THE NATION? Maybe you’ve heard the metaphor “there’s an elephant in the room.” When someone says this, they are referring to a huge problem that everyone sees, but no one is willing to address because it’s more comfortable – at least in the immediate term – to pretend it doesn’t exist. But the long-term consequences of ignoring the elephant in the nation could be catastrophically irreversible. When it comes to America’s problems, there seems to be an elephant in the nation. What is it? And, how should American Christians address the elephant in the nation in a biblical manner that honors God?
Has God been speaking to American Christians? We’re long overdue for a real revival in the United States of America, but how does real revival come? This riveting message was delivered on the opening day of 2016 The National Week Of Repentance (RevivalMatters.com). What should Christians be doing at this vital time in American history?
Even if America doesn’t experience real revival, Christians everywhere need to heed God’s voice at this key time in history. Christians in America have not yet begun to respond to the elephant in the nation the way the Bible says must happen if we have any hope of real revival. It’s time we start – before it’s too late.
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C&P Copyright, Michael Anthony. All rights reserved.