Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? Luke 13:1,2
When I heard of the shooting in Christchurch it was with fear that I approached the internet. Even among my friends and select sources the beginnings of critiquing the tragedy showed up quickly. Some focused on the human element that our common humanity was the focus and nothing else mattered while others focused on the religious and the need to distinguish that the people were Muslims and this was a religious terrorist issue. But to their credit most of my Christian friends simply showed shock and tears.
One man, with declared hatred for those different from himself. Espousing a doctrine of white supremacy, hatred of religion and for those of faith walked into a mosque and ended the lives of men women and children. How do we who look on process the trauma of that?
This was not religious but it was an ideal. It was a belief system that began to see people as problems and principles that he opposed. He lumped the people in those Mosques as things to be rid of and lost sight of their humanity.
Often when we face these events we try to make sense of them and work a cause and effect solution. This happened because you….
Jesus taught that the world doesn’t work that way. We are broken and so is the world. Pain drives us to hurt and bring pain to others and most times it has nothing to do with them but rather it has everything to do with us. The victims were no different from any of us. Even more concerning should be the fact that everything this man professed could easily have led to a shooting in a Christian church or anywhere non-white or people of faith met.
Actually, maybe the cause and effect approach does have some validity. The cause is Genesis three, the effect is everything after. This doesn’t mean that we are able to say “the devil made me do it”. It does say that when we fail to see the humanity around us and only the tags and judgements we make (immigrant; Muslim; Christian; Gay; Asian; etc), even “Shooter” we are joining that circle of pain and feeding the beast that sits inside and grows from thoughts, to words, to judgement.
So, for me? While I know the anger I hold for the one who did this I also know what happened was evil and wrong. I also know I can’t judge while I hold so much of the same brokenness and sin in me. I must give to the only pure one, God.
But even more, Let me do nothing that continues the cycle in others or myself. No tags, no labels, no walls. One humanity needing God, love and grace and tired of tribes.