What went through your head when you heard about the shooting in Orlando? This was one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent memory, but haven’t we been here before? I, personally, was upset, mournful, angry and at a loss, but we have been here before. Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Charleston, and many more acts of violence have made their way into the familiar. And while we are still saddened and bewildered by these events, It is no longer shocking that these things take place.
So what would be an appropriate response? The social media outlets want to make it about gun control. The self-righteous want to make it about lifestyle choices. The religious want to make it about God’s involvement. The non-religious want to make it about God’s un-involvement. Play the blame game and you will find there are no winners. Even if you make a convincing argument, it still doesn’t change the fact that these occurrences are far too frequent. I’m not interested in blaming. I’m interested in making a difference.
But how could we possibly make such a difference? That’s where my faith comes in. Showing kindness, fostering an environment of acceptance, and loving when it hardly makes any sense are just a few bedrock principles of the gospel. If the world is filled with evil, then it is our job to pour that much more kindness and love into it. If that makes you laugh, scoff, or outright dismiss such an idea, then I’m sorry you can’t see the value. Whatever is going on in the world, it could always use more light than darkness.
Similarly, a popular question when things like this happen is, “What do I tell my kids?” Tell them that love wins. Tell them that we will continue to fight hate with love. Tell them that we will continue to be accepting of others. Tell them that it is our job to fill the world with good because there is already enough hate and injustice around. Not only do you tell your kids those things, you show them how to live them. If we do that, then we are doing our part to make a difference.