You know – with regards to the recent massacre in Orlando, we are sliding back into the same old same old set of accusations and counter-accusations we see every time: “Who’s fault is it?”
Is it the Muslims?
The NRA? (Well …)
Blaming is an old game: based on the idea that we must have winners and losers. And yet, nobody ever wins.
How long must we keep up this mindless charade?
And then we have the next layer of this old game, that of hitching one’s own cause (and/or -ism) to the issue…
Lifting the ban on allowing Gays to donate blood
All of these causes are important and worthwhile, and many of them do intersect with what happened in Orlando this past weekend. But, by linking a cause dear to us with the terror in Orlando, are we obscuring what happened? …Obscuring what happened by insisting the event be viewed only through a lens of our choosing?
Look: 50 people died, and and another 53 were physically injured. Uncounted others have lost loved ones, many more will be dealing for the rest of their own lives with the trauma they experienced that night, and others will spend a lifetime caring for those who have been forever scarred by this attack.
And, we see pain erupting from many in the LGBTQ community because of this, and you can understand why: clubs such as Pulse were a refuge from the judgment and pain they experienced in the outside world. Those refuges are now no longer safe. LGBTQ people have become a new target of domestic terrorism just when the laws and society here in the U.S. finally seemed to be on the verge of forever setting aside homophobia. The newly blossoming reality of being able to live their lives unmolested and free from fear has been taken away from them, perhaps forever. For an LGBTQ person, this attack was very personal, and very scary: a very real threat to their very existence, carried out against them purely because of who they are. I can’t imagine feeling like I’m living with a target painted on my back, but I’m sure many in the LGBTQ community feel exactly that way right now.
50 people have died. Hundreds if not thousands more will never escape the pain and fear planted within their souls that night.
Let’s focus on that.
As a Christian, I see the Bible, particularly Jesus own teachings in the Gospels, as making it very, very, clear that we must take responsibility for our own actions and attitudes, and not seek to escape such responsibility. Laying blame on others is exactly that: an attempt to say “it’s somebody else’s problem, not mine.”
So, instead of trying to figure out who to blame, ask instead “What have I not done that I should be doing, to keep such things from happening?” Because, our own attitudes and prejudices and fears definitely played a part – however small – in causing this to happen.
And, instead of hitching one’s own cause to the pain of others, respect the pain and loss that has occurred. Embrace those who have lost loved ones. Walk at the side of those who cannot stop the pain of this trauma from leaking out of their souls. We cannot directly feel their pain, nor can we (nor should we) try to minimize it. Instead, we must allow them to work through their pain – and be there for them when they need help, or need someone to listen to what they have to say.
Jesus’ taught that we must love God without limit, and love one another in the same way.
The world can be a cruel, hard place. Bad things will happen. As Christians, we are called not to judge, but to heal. So in the end, ask how you can help bring healing. Ask how you must change in response to what has happened.
Love is the answer, not blame.