Shooting. Death. Tragedy. Confusion.
Each of these words came to mind yesterday when three college students tragically lost their lives. There are questions of motive, media coverage, and religion. While questions of this nature play a role in the ongoing cultural discussion, they tend to overshadow the core of this tragic event. Three human beings who were created in the image of God were murdered. A fourth, inexplicably took it upon himself to act as judge, jury, and executioner. All humans, regardless of affiliation or label, are endowed with a certain respect and dignity. Life and dignity were stripped away from these three students in one anger-filled moment. Indeed, a gut-wrenching tragedy!
Yes, the three students identified themselves as Muslims. The perpetrator identifies himself as an atheist. Beyond these labels and religious affiliations (or non-religious as the case may be), remember that these are real people with real lives, which yesterday were cut tragically short. They have real family and friends, all of which are experiencing disastrous loss.
So how can we respond?
Prayer. Be in prayer for these families and friends during a time of devastation—the loss of one man and two women– a son, daughters, a new husband, a new wife, and friends.
Hope. We live in a broken, messy, and unjust world. It is right and appropriate to mourn these things, yet as a Christ-follower, I believe the only fitting response to this world and its tragedies are found in the gospel. In the midst of grief, mourning, and confusion let us hold onto and hold out this message of hope and life.
Gentleness and wisdom. Words are too easy to tweet, post, or say. This situation demands gentleness and wisdom. At times wisdom is best demonstrated in speaking up and speaking out, while at other times, quietness best expresses wisdom.
Solidarity. All men and women are created with respect and dignity. Regardless of label or affiliation let us mourn this tragic loss of life, recognize religious liberty, and together work for positive change in this broken world.