A change of heart is needed

Published 10:06 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2016

By Kenya Smith

It’s been three months since the tragedy in Orlando took place. People across the United States and around the world mourned for the 49 lives that were lost. Many Christians prayed and sent condolences to the victims and their families. Some, including a employees of a local Chick-fil-A, donated blood for the injured.

These charitable acts showed what Jesus said in Luke 10:27 “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Email newsletter signup

Unfortunately, not everyone shared these feelings of grief and empathy. One pastor in California said the Orlando tragedy was something to be celebrated because of the victims’ lifestyles. In addition, Westboro Baptist Church paid an unfriendly visit to Orlando and expressed their hateful and erroneous theology.

Even in this city, I have experienced the same cold attitudes.

During the week of the Orlando tragedy, there was a discussion about how Christians should respond to the event. I expressed my anger and my pain about the tragedy. I believed in my heart that what happened in Orlando was wrong and inexcusable, regardless of the victims’ lifestyles.

As the conversation continued, one woman raised her hand and said she did not feel sorry for the victims and that they had gotten what they deserved. I could not believe she would stoop that low and felt sickened by her response.

I believe her remarks defeat the purpose of Jesus Christ, who died for everyone and that they suggest the suffering Jesus had to endure for the whole world was in vain.

There is a lot of work to be done in the body of Christ. Even though the number of people who share these negative responses to the Orlando tragedy is small, two things come to mind: “A little leaven spoils the whole loaf” and “One bad apple spoils the whole bunch.”

I personally cannot rest until we all recognize how destructive these self-righteous attitudes and practices are to the church and do something about it. I know we cannot change people, but only the Christ in us can do that.

In response to the few who expressed their coldness towards the victims and their families, I would like to ask one question. Are you are aware that each of the victims you are showing coldness towards was someone’s child, grandchild, sibling, cousin or friend?

In addition, I highly suggest they read Luke 13:1-5, where Jesus gives his response to two tragedies that happened. Jesus responds by asking if the people who were killed in the tragedies were worse sinners than everyone else was. He adds, “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

I pray that they would have a change of heart over these attitudes, because life is valuable to God.

Kenya Smith is a Suffolk native and a Regent University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in communications with a concentration in strategic communications and a history minor. Email her at kenysmi@mail.regent.edu.