As we’re all well aware, this past week at least 50 Muslims were killed by a shooter in New Zealand. Across religions and racial boundaries, we weep with the Muslim community; for a tragedy like this is able to bring anyone to their knees in mourning.
That being said, as a pastor I’ve been put off by some posts being shared on social media since this event happened. I’ve seen several posting articles about persecuted Christians around the world, some of them persecuted by Muslims. As I read their comments, it feels like some are saying, “What happened to these Muslims is awful, but…”
A man just walked into a mosque and open fired on innocent people all around him while live-streaming it to Facebook for people to watch and share. So, but what? Do we really need a disclaimer to follow this atrocity? There are a few things we’re communicating when we do this:
- We belittle the love of the other in order to make a case for ourselves. “We’re sorry about that horrible thing that happened, but do you know what we’re going through?”
- We lump all Muslims into the same category; something we wish people would stop doing to us as Christians. The peaceful Muslims all across the world are made out to be the same violent Muslims that kill Christians in other parts of the world.
- We act as though Jesus didn’t tell us several times that signing up for Christianity could very well get us killed and that this was a part of accepting salvation. Our very Savior embodied this possibility by taking a bullet on our behalf and forgiving the shooters, welcoming us to do the same.
Yes, the torture and martyrdom of Christians around the world is terrifyingly awful—absolutely—and it is a social justice issue that must be fought with the love of Jesus. But the fact that we don’t seem to care to vocalize their tragedy until we can compare it to someone else’s fresh tragedy is upsetting. I didn’t see any Christians vocalize Christian martyrdom after 26 people were killed at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs a little over a year ago. So why this time?
This can be a moment for the peace of Jesus to be made manifest, for we can sympathize (and more) with the Christchurch tragedy, just as the Jews of New Zealand have already done. We can set much aside and simply grieve with one another. Let’s not lose that opportunity because of our pride.