On Valentine's Day, a former student at Parkland Highschool, 19 year old Nicolas Cruz, decided to kill 17 people, both teachers and students. Some of these people he knew. His motive is unknown as of yet. I know deep intense pain what would take a young man down such a dark road. I can imagine he wanted others to feel his pain as well, hence his decision to kill 17 people yesterday. I am in prayer for parents, friends, other relatives and the school itself. My heart aches with you. I am also praying for Mr. Cruz. My hope is that one day he will be released from the darkness that clouds his mind and his heart and he will once again see light and hope. Hopeless men do hopeless things.
I say all this not to make you feel sorry for Mr. Cruz nor to give him an excuse. He made a choice, executed his choice and now there will be consequences for his actions.
I say all this to say look deeper. Here we are yet again. What do we keep missing? What signs are we either not looking for or looking away from with men like Mr. Cruz? When do we as the church bring our solutions to the table to solve the gun violence problem in America? When are we going to sit down with people we may not necessarily agree with to solve this proble? I believe it is a matter of the heart and yet also a matter of common sense. When are we all going to lay politics aside to keep people from dying? How many more people have to die?
I am asking the hard questions because church, we are missing it here. We have the answer and his name is Jesus. We can offer Jesus's heart yet all I hear a call to do is pray. Please don't misunderstand me, prayer is powerful but Jesus didn't just pray, he went out among people, he reasoned with them and he listened to them. He formed relationships with them so they could see he was the answer. He prayers spoke loud, his actions even louder. Church, we have got to go to the table! We have got to offer the answer in the heart of Jesus and we will also have to encounter some people who may think differently than we do to solve this problem - whether that thinking be spiritually different or politically different. How can we keep the answer to ourselves?
I know the parents, teachers, students and community in Broward County and around the Parkland high school area are hurting right now. They are devasted and in shock. The best thing the church can do is mourn with them and listen to them. The next best the thing the church can do is get to the table to solve the gun violence problem in America. We must bring Jesus to the table, not our politics. Jesus did not bring politics to the table in any discussion he ever had, look up the gospels if you don't believe me. America we have a problem, and it is of the heart. We also have a commen sense gun problem. It is my belief that if the church will come to the table in communities around America and problem solve with their neighbors, regardless of politics or beliefs, a solution can be reached that will both protect life (first and foremost) and protect rights. Church, we are part of this world until we are removed from it. We can't take a passive back seat and just "pray." We have to pray and then act on what God is telling us to do. That is what I am doing by writing this blog today. This has been on my heart since yesterday and I believe God put it there. I will also do my part in praying, writing and even meeting with members of my community where I can.
Church, we have the answer! You have to show up at the table when you have the answer. We would be selfish not too! This is going to take the village - the church, parents, teachers, students, law enforcement, the health care system and our political leaders. Everyone must come to the table and lay down their "arms" so to speak so we can solve this problem.
I want to encourage all of you today to do what you can do in your communities to get involved in this dialogue and to come to the table with the heart of Jesus. His heart supercedes our politics. His heart is the answer to this problem. His heart is the most important thing we can offer to this country right now. Church, let's get to it!!!
Heading to the table,