Friday, June 24, 2016

In The Aftermath of Terror

When I received the news of the terrorist attack in Orlando, like the rest of the nation, I was stunned. As the details unfolded, my emotions vacillated between sadness, anger, confusion, and shock. Many churches rose to the occasion with outreach and ministry. Our church led a city-wide prayer vigil for the families who lost loved ones. Other churches led blood drives and offered to help with funeral arrangements. The entire Orlando area was, and remains, very supportive of those who still suffer grief.

Our hearts continue to hurt for the families of the victims. I think we all want to help—we want to reach out to those whose lives are forever changed.  But now, in the aftermath of this horrible event, how are we, as Christians, to respond? We must begin with prayer.

1.  Pray for the victim’s families. We need to pray for those who were deeply affected by this act of violence. I remember when a dam gave way, collapsed, and a flood covered the campus of Toccoa Falls College in 1977. As a student at the college, I recall the nation mourning the loss of the 39 people who were killed. But as the lives of the nation moved on, we continued to mourn for weeks. Though we eventually became “yesterday’s news,” we students still witnessed the aftermath of the devastation and greatly missed our friends who lost their lives. When the time comes that national interest focuses elsewhere, let us remember to continue to pray for the families who will forever grieve the loss of their loved ones.

2.  Pray for our protection. I was reading an article this week concerning the many terrorist attacks that have been averted. This included 77 such would-be attacks in my home state of Florida alone. Let’s thank God that those actions were not successful. Let’s pray that God will supernaturally protect us from those who would hurt us.

3.  Pray for our enemies. In Matthew 5:43-44,  Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.’” Love and grace toward those who dislike or hate us comes with difficulty. It is especially challenging when their attacks have a life-changing effect. However, as Christians we must show the same grace toward our enemies as we have received from Christ. To not do so is to testify that we had something to do with our salvation—that we somehow deserve at least a part of the grace and forgiveness that Christ has given us. Those who have truly humbled themselves at the cross, and experienced His marvelous grace, are compelled to share that grace with others.

4.  Pray for God to give you opportunities to share the gospel. Beliefs determine behavior, and behavior can often be hurtful. Jesus came both in grace and truth. “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) Jesus not only came in grace, but also in truth. Grace does not change how God feels about sin, only how He deals with it. We must be people of integrity—believing and living the truth of the Scriptures. The foundation of our faith is Jesus dying on the cross to save us from our sins. The cure for behavior that destroys lies in the truth of Christ. Let’s pray that God will supernaturally create something positive in the aftermath of tragedy. Pray that God will draw people to Himself (John 6:44) and give us the opportunity to speak the gospel of grace and truth.

What do you think?


  1. Perfect sense. Pastor Does it again! Lord I come to you on the name of Jesus to thank you for Pastor Mercer and how you give him such clear biblical references every Sunday and also on this blog. Please protect him as he spreads your word just like it is and say and not watering it down to fit society in Jesus name is pray amen.

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